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.
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.”