Scissors to refrigerator doors - is there a world for Left-handers?

Amitabh Bachchan, Barack Obama, Narendra Modi, Hugh Jackman, Ram Kapoor, Robert De Niro, Laxmi Mittal, Shikhar Dhawan, Keanu Reeves, Justin Bieber, Whoopi Goldberg, Sachin Tendulkar, Bill Clinton are left-handers who continue to make news and for all the ‘right’ reasons.

Alok ParekhUpdated: Saturday, August 13, 2022, 02:06 PM IST
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Scissors to refrigerator doors - is there a world for Left-handers? |

According to famous novelist, Maggie O’Farrell “two and a half thousand left-handed people are killed every year using things made for right-handed people.” The number may seem insignificant but for a world essentially wired to suit right-handed people, being a lefty is almost criminal given that they are not even 10% of the world’s total population. But overcoming all the obstacles are those like Amitabh Bachchan, Barack Obama, Narendra Modi, Hugh Jackman, Ram Kapoor, Robert De Niro, Laxmi Mittal, Shikhar Dhawan, Keanu Reeves, Justin Bieber, Whoopi Goldberg, Sachin Tendulkar, Bill Clinton who continue to make news and for all the ‘right’ reasons.

Barack Obama signing a document with left hand

Barack Obama signing a document with left hand |

The Free Press Journal spoke to Mumbaikars who are left-handed and tried to understand whether life is really as appalling as made out to be. We spoke to students because there is where the ‘re-adjustment’ starts.

Nemil Satunda, a student from S.K. Somaiya College, Vidyavihar said that being left-handed threw him several challenges, however at the same time it was advantageous too. “The worst challenge is that while writing from left to right with a left hand my speed tends to get much slower compared to a right-handed person. And if I try writing quickly, it takes a toll at my handwriting.” Nemil added that the unfavourable seating arrangement with desks designed mainly for righties, has always been uncomfortable. “However, being a lefty has an advantage in spots and my opponents in cricket and tennis are on a backstep because of me.”

Sports and the Arts are two of the biggest beneficiaries of the left-handedness, so to speak. Gary Sobers, Brian Lara are some of the greatest lefty sportspersons the world has seen and with artists there cannot be a better example than Lonardo De Vinci.

Brian Lara - left-handed batsman

Brian Lara - left-handed batsman |

Michelle D’Almeida, of Vile Parle’s Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Pharmacy, has had mixed experiences because of her left handedness. “I still remember it was during my Grade 9 final exams where I had to sit in between two righties on a three-seater bench, and how my hand was always clashing with the person sitting next to me. The invigilator, who happened to be my Geometry teacher took notice and made me sit at a comfortable place. It was small, yet a grateful gesture for me.” But Michelle also remembers how she struggled in her college lab while performing experiments like titration, “which requires me to shake the flask with one hand and adjust the flow rate with the other. I constantly have to remind myself to not use left hand for either of the tasks as all the equipment is designed for a righty.”

Some children are bullied for being left-handed. One such is Karthik Karkera, an MBA student at Malad’s Chetana Institute. “I was usually bullied in school by other righty kids. They always used to ask me if I used the same hand, that I use for everything else, in toilet to clean myself. It felt too disgusting and miserable. Even today, I am given deep stares and I’m bombarded with stupid questions at family functions when my relatives see me eating with my left hand. They ask me silly questions like why I am lefty or why my parents didn’t hit me when I was a kid and try to convert me into a righty.”

Dhwani Shah, a student of Churchgate’s Kishinchand Chellaram College, had a slightly different perspective towards being left-handed. She said, “Despite all the desk position and scissor issues, I feel being lefty is distinctive and I’m extremely happy. I can easily come up with creative ideas but executing them is an issue for me. In my opinion, workplace and surroundings of lefties should be designed as per their comfortability. A different style of scissors, a new design of keyboards and computer mouse, etc., just so that they feel adapted and not new to the place.”

Free Press Journal also spoke to Sandeip Vishnoi, Founder of the Indian Left-handers Club, which is based out of Aurangabad. “The club, started in 2010, has more than 6 lacs student-members. Our main agenda is to motivate them, and to make them feel that they are unique with the god-gift of being lefties. It is important for them to know that even if they are part of just 10% population of the world, they are equivalent to the remaining 90% of the masses. We conduct several awareness campaigns along with counselling sessions to make the parents and teachers understand that being lefty is a boon, and not a bane,” explained Mr. Vishnoi.

Sandeip Vishnoi - Founder of Indian Left-handers club

Sandeip Vishnoi - Founder of Indian Left-handers club |

August 13 is celebrated by lefty’s globally, though right-handed people do not think much of the day given that their daily existence remains unruffled. In the West there are shops that sell items special to lefty’s – in India it is yet to be a generated idea given our cultural attachment to everything ‘right.

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