Aug 13, 2010.
“Everyone is born right-handed. Only the greatest overcome it.”… Yes I’m referring to the Southpaws here - the ‘Lefties’.
On August 13, 1976 an organization known as ‘Lefthanders International’ first declared this day a holiday. The organization served as a source of information for left-handers. It also sold left-handed products for several years before going out of business.
On August 13, 1992 the left-handers Club in UK launched the International Left-handers' Day, an annual event when left-handers celebrate their sinistrality (technical term for left-handedness) and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed. These events have contributed substantially to the general awareness of the difficulties and frustrations left-handers experience in everyday life, and have successfully led to improved product design and greater consideration of their needs by the right-handed majority - although there is still a long way to go.
As we celebrate the 35th International Left-handers’ Day, let’s take a look at the concept of left-handedness and how lefties have managed to shine in the right-dominated world.
Research shows that seven to ten percent of the adult population is left-handed. Left or right-handedness is an attribute of humans defined by their unequal distribution of fine motor skill between the two hands.
Left-handedness refers to the preference for the left hand over the right for everyday activities such as writing. But writing is not always the right indicator to judge whether a person is left-handed or not as some people who are left-handed write with their right hand and use their left for every other work.
World is Built for Right-handers
The world hasn't been too kind to the lefties. From a trivial thing like a pair of scissors to that complex contraption called the mouse sitting blissfully on your right (presuming you are using one), everything has been designed for the right-handers. Take for instance a pair of scissors. If you happen to be a lefty, you'd probably know what I am referring to. The tool is arranged so that the line being cut along can be seen by a right-handed user, but is obscured to a left-handed. Furthermore, the handles are often moulded in a way that is difficult for a left-hander to hold, and extensive use in such cases can lead to varying levels of discomfort. By the time you are done with it, you would be wondering whether it would have been easier to use a knife!
And then there's that computer mouse which, if proper care is not taken of as to its placement, you will find yourselves twisting to a most uncomfortable position just for that one tiny click, and added to that is the very shape of the mouse itself. But thank god for that blessed soul who spared a thought to the lefties and added the option to interchange the function of the mouse buttons at least.
And do think of the little kids for whom learning the alphabet itself is a herculean task, leave alone the trauma they might suffer if the teacher is not considerate of their left-handedness. In fact, even in the late 20th century, some schools still discouraged children from writing with their left hand, often seriously affecting the child's development.
Among the most interesting facts about left-handers, the most common one is the brain dominance theory. In left-handers the brain is cross wired so the right hemisphere controls the left-handed side of the body and vice versa in case of right handers. Right-handed people operate in the left side of the brain while the left-handed use the right side. So the left-handers can proudly declare that they are always in the ‘right mind’...!
It is also true that lefties have managed to excel in creative fields like arts, media, music and so on compared to their right counterparts. In sports, left-handers have always had an edge, be it boxing or wrestling or fencing or tennis. All of a sudden you're faced with a someone who doesn't use his/her hands the usual way, and you are literally 'left' wondering how to tackle the person.
It is pretty surprising that most of the famous personalities, celebrities, sportsmen and politicians have been or are left-handed. Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was left-handed.The current President of the United States, Barack Obama, is left-handed. Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush are also lefties, so also Nelson Mandela. Leonardo Da Vinci was a left-handed artist. Famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer Isaac Newton, entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Rosan are all lefties.
In the world of sports the lefties rule. Sachin Tendulkar (though he bats right-handed), Wasim Akram, Gary Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Brian Lara, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvaraj Singh...the list of cricketers is endless. Ace tennis star Maria Sharapova is also a leftie. Hollywood’s hit couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, both are left-handed. This way there is an endless list of famous figures who are lefties.
They say left-handed people are lucky, and going by that illustrious list, it may perhaps be true for all you know. In fact, you might even feel tempted to pick up that pen with your left hand and start the process of conversion right now! Who knows, may be our stars too may shift from right to left and prove to be lucky!!
I would just like to add one more thing which my Psychology teacher Shalini Aiyappa had told us while explaining about this left-right businees: “Who says you cannot use your both hands in a similar manner? If children are trained in the appropriate way right from childhood they will be able to perform every task using both hands. Practice is what counts.”
So start practicing, because, though we may be satisfied with our right or left-handedness, it would surely be quite an achievement if we could manage to write neatly with either hand. And just imagine the benefits - if the right hand writes like a crow's leg, the writing of the left one may at least look like its head.
But jokes apart, it's a day dedicated to the left-handers, and if you happen to be one of them, feel special just for being among the elite few of the world. And if you are not a lefty, don't worry, you dominate the world.
Veekshita Arasa - Archives: