Wednesday, February 10, 2021

A Forced Lefty

 As I was handing over the keys of my car to a valet at a hotel, I realized that I had gradually become a left-hander over the last two months. I was, otherwise, a compulsive right-hander as far as a physical exchange transaction was concerned. I would unfailingly check others and shamelessly point out to shift to the ‘right’ hand from the ‘wrong’ one.  You don’t forget some of the rules ingrained into your psyche by your orthodox upbringing.

I have been going through an excruciatingly painful bout of ‘frozen shoulder’, that had only worsened over the last two months. And all this while, how and when I have unknowingly and seamlessly shifted from being a northpaw to a southpaw – I have not noticed.

Being a keen student of behaviorism, I wanted to see if this motorial malfunction of my right arm and thereby the renewed activism of my left hand has brought about any cognitive change in my personality. Enough reams have been printed by the research scholars on the intellectual primacy of the left handers. Some of these studies have concluded that the left handers do well in mathematics and in sports as well. 

To check the impact of my renewed status of handedness, I challenged my daughter to play a game of table-tennis with me. While I could never match her TT skills with my right hand, I thought with a transformed hand orientation, I should be able to beat her. But the result was much worse. I consoled myself that such a change required some practice to adjust and get some expertise and hence would need time and moved on.

Next morning, there was a big news about the hefty fines introduced on traffic violations. The whole social media was full of memes around this topic. Some carried a chart of fines and penalties imposed on different kinds of violations, a few others painted scenarios and asked one to guess the total amount of fine chargeable as per the new rules. This was pretty straight forward, I thought.  But every time I tested my mathematical prowess, it proved otherwise. I misjudged a penalty or overlooked some compounding.  My new found left handedness did not add to my proficiency here either.

As I entered the kitchen I saw my wife struggling to take out a bottle from the top shelf. I stretched my left hand to reach out and said – I may not be able to lift my right hand Honey but my left hand is always there for you. She smiled and a silly me went on to say – or you get a home slipper with high heels. She never liked commenting on her height and snarled at me – you are getting too lefty with your comments these days. Better do your physio more seriously and get back to the right sooner. And I retracted immediately, realizing that the cognitive change had indeed happened but on the ‘wrong’ side. 

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