You can get stared at for a lot of things in India, like hugging your significant other in public, or holding someone’s hand, or having two X chromosomes. These things are like a real-life Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge; they’re a part of our culture that we joke about sentimentally, but let’s be honest they need to go away. Forever. But today I’d like to focus on one area of curiosity that I’ve been subjected to my entire life. It’s something that needs to stop, because I cannot handle the staring, the judgement, and the invasion of personal space anymore. So let me just say, once and for all; yes, I’m left-handed, now shut up about it.
Every left-handed person’s exam paper follows the same pattern as Ram Gopal Varma’s career; the initial bits are great, but by the time you get to the last bits, everything looks like the ravings of an insane person
Being right-handed is easy. You write words and then you go about your day, and nobody questions you. Being left-handed is traumatic. For starters, as Leo Tolstoy once never said, “All righties are alike, but each lefty is unhappy writing in his own way.” I’m not saying us lefties have a natural disadvantage, but the first three Google suggestions for “Why do left-handers…” are:
1) Why do left-handers have bad hand-writing
2) Why do left-handers have worse hand-writing
3) (I kid you not) Why do left-handers die sooner?
See that? We DIE sooner. I’m probably going to die before you. And I can’t even kill myself because you wouldn’t understand the suicide note.
So once and for all, let’s settle this; yes the left-hand is not naturally suited to writing, especially if you follow the roman script that flows from the left to the right. I spent a third of my childhood trying to figure out what grip worked best, and another third being asked questions like “LOL what writing style is this?” The final third, I spent with my wrist erasing every word I wrote as I moved forward to the next one. I was the only person in my class whose entire answer paper looked like a succession of out-of-focus photographs of another, better answer paper. Every left-handed person’s exam paper follows the same pattern as Ram Gopal Varma’s career; the initial bits are great, but by the time you get to the last bits, everything looks like the ravings of an insane person.
And then there’s the obligatory dinner-table cultural stigma. “You eat… with THAT hand?” hissed one aunt as she saw me tuck into my food. She was so repulsed by the thought that she wouldn’t even deign to call the hand by its name. And that happens all the time over dinner. The same question, followed by a half-second of paralysis where their accusing eyes dart between your hands as they try to figure out which hand you use for… other things. (PRO TIP: Always tell them it’s the same hand you eat with. Especially if there’s delicious food on the table. That way, there’s more food for you when they lose their appetite).
There was a time I thought my handwriting, with its unconventional Paul-Addams grip, uneven spacing and smudged strokes, was a great conversation starter. Until I realised I’ve never actually been asked about it by an interesting person. So now I just want everyone to shut the hell up about it. Think of us lefties as the X-Men. Are we different? Yes. But are we here to hurt you? No. Just leave us be. Besides, hate on us lefties all you want you hypocrites, but remember, the hand on the Congress party flag is the right one.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi