“Beta, right hand… use your right hand…” “Seedhay Hath sayyy…” “Dayan hath… beta dayan hath…” I know besides me there would be innumerable left-handers who would have to put up with these (slightly irritating) reminders a number of times, especially during their early childhood. During my early days every time, when I picked up anything or wrote something, I was taught to use my right hand. In fact, I had gotten so used to these reminders to the extent that whenever I started something and didn’t hear these sentences, I felt something missing. Then intentionally grasping the thing in my left hand, I smilingly used to see mom with spying eyes. And finally after getting used to my tricks, she would chuckle which was followed by a roar of laughter by me.
Left-handers have always been quite attention grabbing. Basically left-handedness refers to left hand being preferred over the right for daily chores i.e. eating, writing, opening the door, picking up things etc. (But it also doesn’t mean that right hand remains inactive.) Besides, there are a pretty large number of people who carry out day-to-day activities ambidextrously, i.e. they are able to use either hand equally well.
About 13 per cent of the world population consists of left-handers. Still researchers have not been able to turn up with the ultimate reason for “why” some people are left-handed. However, up till now it’s firmly believed that it’s inherited feature.
Brain connectivity of lefties
It’s quite intricate to apprehend the functioning of human mind. Human brain is “cross-wired”. Hand dominance is linked with our brain dominance on the opposite side. It means left hemisphere of the brain controls the right handed side of the body and vice-versa.
The left hemisphere (right hand control) controls speech, language, writing, logic, mathematics, science, this is the linear thinking mode. The right hemisphere (left hand control) controls music, art, creativity, perception, emotions, genius, this is the holistic thinking mode.
Left-handers — gurus of creativity and proficiency
On the basis of aforementioned characteristics, research asserts that left-handers are likely to be more creative and spectacular thinkers as compared to right-handers. For that reason they remain quite successful in professions of creativity and imagination i.e. media, information technology, sports, arts, etc. To support this particular phenomenon a Life Style Survey was held in the UK which evidently resulted in higher percentage of left-handers than regular in certain jobs and professions mentioned above. Owing to their unique and fast connectivity with their mind, lefties can think more rapidly.
It’s also believed that left-handed people tend to be better at using both sides of the brain. “It’s certainly very interesting. It has always been said that left-handers are different from right-handers in that they are less consistent with their left-handedness,” said Chartered psychologist, Dr Steve Williams. “This seems to go with evidence that left-handers use both sides of the brain for language — that they are more bi-cerebral. They get faster at it because they tend to use both sides of the brain more. In football, being able to shoot with either foot is a huge asset (each foot like each hand is under opposite-side control) and I’ve heard that left-handers tend to have better backhands in tennis,” he added.
Chris McManus of University College London writes in his book Right Hand Left Hand that left-handed people as group have historically produced an above average quota of high achievers. The reason of this is none other than the unique structure of their mind (that is mentioned above). According to him, it broadens the range of their capabilities.
Left-handed players in some sports have an edge owing to their rarity. A lefty cricketer, footballer or any other sportsman unexpectedly gives a tough time to the opponent. Usually when the opponent is not so used to playing against a left-hander, in order to maintain accuracy, he has to pursue with various tactics which at times is disturbing as well. Tennis player Rafael Nadal, despite being right-handed, plays with the left hand after being encouraged to do so by his coach for this very reason.
Lefty…! How much you are? Let’s see…
Do you hold the pen in your left hand to write? If the answer is in the affirmative it is not enough to declare you a “complete left-hander”. “How far does this bias extend throughout your body?” It’s the statement that matters and matters a lot. Are you left-eared? Left eyed? Here is an easy assessment you can apply to yourself…
•Imagine the centre of your back is itching. Which hand do you scratch it with?
•Interlock your fingers. Which thumb is uppermost?
•Imagine you are applauding. Start clapping your hands. Which hand is uppermost?
•Wink at an imaginary friend straight in front of you. Which eye does the winking?
•Put your hands behind your back, one holding the other. Which hand is doing the holding?
•Someone in front of you is shouting but you cannot hear the words. Cup your ear to hear better. Which ear do you cup?
•Count to three on your fingers, using the forefinger of the other hand. Which forefinger do you use?
•Tilt your head over on to one shoulder. Which shoulder does it touch?
•Fixate a small distant object with your eyes and point directly at it with your forefinger. Now close one eye. Now change eyes. Which eye was open when the fingertip remained in line with the small object? (When the other eye, the non-dominant one, is open and the dominant eye is closed, the finger will appear to move to one side of the object.)
•Fold your arms. Which forearm is uppermost?
Lefties among righties’ world
If I’m asked to mention the chief drawbacks of being left-hander, “being accused of cheating” would be on the top of the list. Whenever I’ve taken examination, I have been destined to (errrr….) right-armed chairs. For that reason I tend to take a file with myself in the examination hall (which assists me, a lefty, in writing). But when the invigilators scrutinise that file again and again in doubt of cheating, it frustrates (and at times exasperates) me a lot. Above all, the irksome queries of examiners regarding the reason of bringing the file makes me feel as if I’m the culprit of 9/11 mishap and will be sentenced capital punishment. (Huh!)
Besides, many tools and devices are designed to be comfortably used by right hander. For instance, (right-handed) scissors, computer mouse (however, latest operating systems allow the user to reconfigure the mouse buttons according to their requirement), levers, handles of day to day crockery, chairs, tables and so forth. But there is not any alternative of these items for left-handers.
International Left-Handers’ Day
I hope, after going through the aforementioned sticky situations with which the lefties have to cope with, you will be feeling sorry for them. Now as you are not the woodworker, otherwise I would have humbly requested you to assemble left armed chairs, but still there is something you can do for them. Left-Handers Day is approaching; it’s being marked on August 13. Do wish all your lefty friends. Most of them would be unfamiliar with their day, so it’ll be a pleasing surprise for them. :)
•Most left-handers draw figures facing to the right.
•There is a high tendency in twins for one to be left-handed.
•Stuttering and dyslexia occur more often in left-handers (particularly if they are forced to change their writing hand as a child, like King George VI).
•Left-handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater.
•Left-handers excel particularly in tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing.
•Left-handers usually reach puberty four to five months after right-handers.
•Four of the five original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed.
•One in four Apollo astronauts was left-handed — 250 per cent more than the normal level.
•It’s said that left-handers are generally more intelligent, better looking, imaginative and multi-talented than right-handers.
George Bush (Politician)
Bill Clinton (Politician)
Gary Sobers Rafael Nadal (Tennis Star)
Kenneth Carlsen (Tennis Star)
James Baldwin (Novelist)
Bet Bowen (Horror Novelist)
Alexander the Great