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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Being left-handed no more a taboo

Swati Goel Sharma , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 13, 2014
First Published: 16:00 IST(13/8/2014) | Last Updated: 16:02 IST(13/8/2014)

When a Bandra-based businessman stumbled upon a popular online store in the United Kingdom selling products for lefthanders, he promptly ordered a pair of scissors and a peeler. The cost of the tools notwithstanding ( Rs. 600 and Rs. 350 respectively as opposed to a paltry Rs. 30 and Rs. 10 in the local market), he was ecstatic. “I could finally use these tools without coming across as clumsy,” he said. “There is a dire need for such products to be available at your nearby supermarket, but we now have an option to buy products suitable to our needs,” he added.

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Lefties have forever struggled in classrooms to take down notes while being seated at those armcontorting, wrist-twisting righthanded desks. So Bipinchandra Chaugule from Pune, who runs the Association of Left-Handers, said he was taken by surprise when he saw an entire row with left-handed desks available to his ilk at a seminar by an IT company in Pune. “This was a lone experience, but things are changing,” said Chaugule.

Lajwanti D’souza, a media professional, recounts how her office management easily shifted her workplace shifted her workspace to the left-most corner of the table. The world around the left-handers is slowly but certainly improving to overcome the practical biases – a regular source of inconvenience and frustration to them. And biases are aplenty, D’souza said, “Try opening a can with an opener using your left hand – you could easily cut yourself on the lid.”

For generations, cultural biases have imbued in the society with the notion that left means inauspicious. Most left-handers recount tales how they were beaten, scolded or counselled into being a right-handed one. However, with an increased awareness, this is not the case anymore.

Dr Harish Shetty, a social psychiatrist with Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, said, “A decade ago, I used to come across cases where people saw it as a disorder. Today, there is respect for the trait.”

So, are the left-handers finally at a stage where they don’t feel left out? “Hardly,” says Neeraj Mehra, a photographer who often complains about his equipment being user-unfriendly. “We are years behind countries such as the US and the UK in this aspect. But fortunately, the stigma has gone.”


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