my mother, my neighbour


I live with family. We do not do farming but father says our house is farmhouse because our house is far from the city. There are farms. The farmers live in the village. We have no Neighbours.

Teacher had asked us to write an essay on “My Neighbour” in 5th grade. My essay was a lie in fact many classmates and my teacher knew where I lived. They also did look forward to my unrelenting excuses to avoid writing. None though ever acknowledged my profound imagination.

Each time my essays were read out loud by the teacher, then her predictable pause followed by a screaming howl, her one hand pointing at the door “Get out of my class. Stand in the sun.”

I hated subjects that needed extensive writing. During my exams, I cared to write enough to pass and walk out of the class. To avoid my mother’s wrath, I did well in math and chemistry, summing up a decent grade through my schooling years.

As a child I was confused which hand to use for writing. I noticed other kids in my kindergarten years mostly using right except a few maybe one or two were left-handed. I could use both my hands with ease but my mother thought it was a ridiculous thing to do.

“Use your right hand, not left”

“But what’s wrong if I can write with both my hands?”

One evening, she held my left hand and whacked my knuckles with a stick, repeatedly. She was probably waiting for me to cry, plead her to stop. I could not but stare at her in disbelief, perturbed what wrong had I done. Back of my hand had turned purple.

She did stop. I had peed in my shorts.

“Write A to Z ten times with your right hand. NOW”

The writing exercise went on for a week or maybe more till she was convinced I never will dare write with my left hand. She was right.

It was quite a few years later I was told I am ambidextrous. My parents had no clue of what that meant. For them everything that is not normal is a problem they got to rectify.

I write with my right, eat with my left hand, bat right, bowl left that means punch left and I can shoot a gun with any.

71 thoughts on “my mother, my neighbour

  1. I’m glad time have changed & we no longer see being left-handed as a crime… Oh, them ridiculous statistics that say what is a norm…!

    I think your lucky. Not for the past experiences but for your skills.

    • In my head it was purely notional and a bland expression to build up to the gun. Perhaps, you are right.
      Stubborn, Yess. I gave that a deep thought yesterday when you let me off the hook 🙂

  2. Children are the greatest treasure we have! They are the future! They have so much to give. I have absolutely no tolerance for adults who do not have the intelligence or the compassion to take care of children. The is no excuse for hurting a child. I greatly admire Sir Ken Robinson, who has written several books on educating children.

    “Our task is to educate their (our students) whole being so they can face the future. We may not see the future, but they will and our job is to help them make something of it.”
    ― Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

    • Thank you Clanmother. This post takes a load off me. What I set out to say in bits and parts but especially starting from “Happy Birthday” till this one, is to bare myself, for everyone to see where I come from and decide whether I am worthy of their attention let alone awards. I have though written a few more pages on what shaped me during my childhood, (I will post them from time to time) though let me clarify, my hatred is gone. That’s the beauty of writing. You ink out the venom, calm down, forgive your past and start anew. That’s what writing has done to me. What life did alongside is found me motherly love through not one but many women 🙂 who have helped me reconcile with my past. I am so blessed.
      When they marry you off young, not much can be expected of a 22 year old couple to be thinking parents. Gandhi himself failed as a father. Last 30 odd years has been a rapidly changing time and the youth in my country is in a transit unlike western world. Meeting a shrink is considered a taboo still.

      • You have a wonderful life affirming attitude! You have chosen a life of joy!!! When you get to my age and look back, you will see what a difference that will have made! Well done and well said!

  3. A very compelling image to go with your prose-I am left-handed too, though I had to learn how to do a lot of things with my right hand-I am grateful that although the nuns tried to change that, my parents stood up for me and said absolutely not-but as a kid, being left-handed really made you stand out in ways that you did not always want to-today-I would not change it for the world-
    I look forward to seeing more of your work-

  4. I’m ambidextrous too. My dad forced me to decide which hand I want to use for writing when I was in 3rd grade. I write with my right hand (more desks then for right handed kids) but I draw with my left hand.

    Wonderful post by the way. Long live ambis! 🙂

    • This is amazing. I was wondering if there will be any takers for this post and here I’m ganging up with ambis, celebrating our unique ability.
      Thank you for the comment.
      Warm Regards

  5. I was about to write that your hand situation is just like my dads, but then I read the almost last part and deleted reading this whole post from my memory D-:

    • HA HA..maybe my hand situation is like your dad’s. My preference? I haven’t given that a thought. What’s in the post is for the effect and nothing more. You are cute and candid. Thank you.

  6. That’s too bad, to be punished for such a great gift as ambidexterity. I’m mostly right handed, but shoot pool left and brush my teeth with my left. Weird how we just get used to one or the other.

  7. One of my daughters used to begin on the left side of the page with left hand, pass pencil to other hand and continue writing with no pause. It was very interesting to watch her do math on the blackboard this way, no need to move! What creative abilities shifting and utilizing both left and right brain at same time!

    • A beautiful sight to watch her using both hand, I can imagine and a pleasant surprise to connect with so many bloggers here who have in them or around similar abilities. My anxieties on WP has vanished. This is home now.

  8. my mom can use both hands and her parents never condemned her so
    I think Brazilians are a people with other guidance about right/wrong.
    your story sensitizes me.

  9. well… a hot video. this is a scenario in Rio de Janeiro beach. they are relaxed people. In São Paulo we work a lot. we are more serious than they are. then…
    in BW my favorite way 🙂

    • Ah! that’s a good way to explain life there. I loved the video, vibrant and yes, the BW adds a touch of elegance.
      So, serious girl from Sao Paulo, keep sending me videos and yes a bit of history about your place. I like it!
      Thank you

  10. Yes, young parents make many mistakes. But you came out stronger for it, with a sense of humor and lots of imagination. Having a different mother– might have been a different outcome– not as creative. Sense of humor often comes from pain.

  11. I think conformity, as it is well in place in India is to blame for correcting ‘everything that is not normal …’ Post-conformism is quite young in India, and Post-modernism nearly inexisting. We can blame the mother, and her parents and her society. They did not know any better.
    Indian society today is still very attached to the caste system. One of the strongholds of conformity. Also the dowry system is part of this, and the subjugated role of women in India’s society. It takes generations for changes to come and stay. We are part of that change, part of the new hope for the next generations to come.

  12. I write with my right hand, preferably, but can do it with both. I use my knife and fork left handed with the knife in the left, and always have. I have left eye dominance so I shoot left handed and I use my left eye to the camera for the same reason. I’m just glad my parents just wanted me to be able to write clearly and weren’t bothered which hand I used.

    • 🙂 Hello Janet, I’m glad to meet you. I don’t know nor I’ve seen anyone use left eye to the camera. These distinct features and skills makes us each a unique person and wonder in amazement, we are beautiful!
      Warm Regards

  13. My father is ambidextrous for the same reason except it was nuns who wouldn’t let him use his left hand to write. I’m sorry this happened to you, what a traumatic experience.

  14. I have seen many low camera position shots of roads, but this one is really special due to the bad condition of the road.

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