By Pavan Tarawade:
Mom was cooking biryani, and I was standing next to her, trying to memorise the recipe.
“Wait. How much salt did you put?” I asked not having been able to keep up.
“You can use it as per approximation” came her reply.
“Yeah, that is the answer I don’t like. Does not help the person trying to learn cooking.”
She smiled and handed over the cover plate to me, indicating to keep it on the side. And in the process, the plate slipped out of her hands.
With a reflex action, I caught it deftly in my left hand.
She watched me do that and exclaimed, “Oh!”
“Oh, what?” I asked.
“Oh my god!” I looked at her and said, “I was left-handed, wasn’t I?”
She gave out a sigh. “I am sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t force you to be right-handed or something. But neither was I sure that you were left handed. Sorry, really.”
I just smiled back and nodded my head at the same time.
I was not angry. I was a little maybe. Not with mom, though.
“I knew it!” I said to myself.
I thought of all the times I felt I was better at writing with my left hand. The times when I felt my left arm was stronger than the right one. And back in school, when I played as a goalkeeper, how smoothly I could dive into the left side.
I suddenly recalled everyone whom I knew, know and had come across – who were left-handed. It was a minority. It wasn’t a taboo. It was not a bad omen anymore. And yet it was not considered ‘normal’ somehow.
I thought of the seminar I had once attended on the “use of both sides of the brain.” I recalled the articles I had read on how left-handed people use the right part of the brain the most. How the right side of the brain is related to artistic work as compared to the left side, which is more responsible for analytical skills. If being left-handed is not a bad thing, I wondered why ‘they’ were a minority. Statistically, left handed people only make up 11% of the world population. Am I left handed or shall I call myself ambidextrous now? I wondered.
According to a study published in 2006, researchers at the Australian National University believe that left-handed folks can handle significant amounts of stimuli better than their right-handed counterparts. No wonder I could beat my friends at video games. Or maybe because Arsenal ‘was’ a better team even in FIFA game back then.
I smiled a hopeful smile when I read that lefties are more likely to pursue creative careers and are better at multitasking. “Aah! That explains a lot” the dreamy cloud hovered above my head.
The dreamy bubble was punctured into an exclamation mark when the internet told me that left-handed people are more prone to develop schizophrenia as compared to right-handed fellows. But then I just asked my other personality to shut up and not to believe everything that the web says.
Interestingly, the Holy Bible also mentions left-handedness almost 25 times, all the times in negative light. Thankfully I was not born in medieval times when they considered the devil himself to be left-handed.
Well, evolution has been kind, though. For we not only adapted better to the environment but also culturally evolved into better human beings. I reaffirmed this thought while typing the article with both my hands. Left. Right. Left. Maybe the diversity of nature is meant for better appreciation of what we have.