Weddings, bottoms, and other sinister tales

As some of you know, a couple of months ago the nice people at the New Indian Express offered me a biweekly column (it is called Practically Marzipan) in their saturday paper. Last week’s column (click on the long skinny picture to read) was about something I have spoken about here in the past – prejudice against people who are left handed.

My favourite story about my southpawdom is one I felt would be inappropriate for the column. As a very small child I only visited India once a year or so for family weddings and similar functions. My parents, being the sort of people who didn’t really mind their child growing up in the west and isolated from good Indian values, had never really drawn attention to my lefthandedness. In school the only attention really paid to it pertained to the handing out of lefthanded scissors. So I was understandably surprised, at the age of five or so, to come here and have distant relations draw back from my left hand when I handed them things, or to be told to do perfectly normal things “properly”. Being an inquisitive sort of child I demanded an explanation from my parents. The reason I was given was that (quoting from wikipedia) “…in some societies including India, it is customary to use the left hand for cleaning oneself with water after defecating. The right hand is commonly known in contradistinction from the left, as the hand used for eating.”. This made sense to me.

It followed, I concluded, that lefthanded people like myself would in fact clean ourselves with our right hands, and eat with our left. At the next family function an elderly relative attempted to swat my left hand away from my leaf plate and force me to eat with my right hand. I said indignantly, disgustedly and (this is the important bit) loudly “but I wipe my bum with that hand!”

Pandemonium occurred.

14 Comments to “Weddings, bottoms, and other sinister tales”

  1. The article is wonderful and your photograph doubly so.

    (chortles with amusement)


  2. Is that a smirk in that snap/profile? Or are you just all “kya re, kya dekhta”?

  3. That was funny… :) :). It reminds me that once my friend refused to eat from the same plate as mine because I was using left hand.

  4. I normally put my left sock/shoe on first, too (I’m right-handed).
    The attitude of the pug reminds me a lot of Nana from Peter Pan, though. Maybe parents are unnecessary in those circumstances?

  5. Jabberjee – You mock me, do you not?

    ??! – I was trying to study when that picture was saying. Mild disgust was the look I was going for at the time. Unfortunately it is one of the only vaguely flattering ones of me I have.

    Goli – How did you react?

    BFH – Perhaps. A good deal of literature would lead one to think human parents are entirely unnecessary – apes, dogs, wolves and the like are perfectly capable of rearing normal, well-adjusted individuals.

    Cristin – Thanks, I think.

  6. A black lie! I don’t even like tofu.


  7. Yes, you are a fabulous writer!

  8. Ahh, so it’s a sneer then. Even better.

  9. Nice Post. And Funny too.

  10. I love the articl

  11. hehehe.. nice line u did scream! ;-)
    I always feel that southpaws were a bunch of gifted people.. they always have elegance. There are innumerable examples.. and i always hated to find a southpaw as my opponent in any game.. i always thought he/she has an added advantage!

  12. Jabberjee – Harrumph.

    Daisy, Koyel and Digisteps – Thank you!

    ??! – Indeed. It’s far more pronounced in this picture than in the original photo though. :(

    Smokin Joe -I would certainly like to be gifted and elegant, but I very much doubt that I am.

  13. I loved your article. I’ve never actually thought about it, but many things ARE easier for righties. Except for unlocking the man door of my house…. that’s definitely built for lefties. See, you do have some benefits… you can unlock my door easily. :)

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