The other day I was the spectator to a very interesting event. A young woman who is closely related to me (let us call her Ms.A) was in deep conversation with a Mr. B&%#####$^***** (for short) and in the middle of which, she suddenly plonked her left hand, square in the middle of his face. The impact was somewhat forceful I must say, judging solely from the sound effects of course. Now as the self appointed supervising adult (SASA not to be confused with the ubiquitous Saas of Hindi Soaps) in the scene, I took upon myself the task of intervening. I would love to divulge here the details of what prompted the act, but an even more overwhelming need to safeguard the privacy of the perpetrator and the perpetrated compels my silence.
Witnessing the act 'ab origine' I must confess, was as tumultuous as the act itself. I was instantly reminded of an ancient Tamizh expression that has been handed down to us from Thiruvalluvar's times-(or somewhere thereabouts) 'Un moonjile yen peechang kaiye vaikka' -Which expression translates as 'I'll put my left hand on your face.' A threat, as a person's left hand is regarded as unclean. (Source: http://www.thefullwiki.org/Madras_bashai)
Up until this point I had enjoyed this expletive as a notion, an idea, a concept and if I might be allowed the liberty -regarded it as what Theophile Gautier calls 'art for art's sake' or as the case here - a 'threat for threat's sake' that inhabited the rarefied space of everyday parlance of the streets. I have heard the expression uttered with the right tonal quality several times in the visual media but for the first time I had the rare privilege of witnessing a demonstration right in front of my eyes. And to make an honest confession, had the threat preceded the act, my conscience might have been better appeased, but now I felt almost cheated.
Though I must admit that witnessing the act 'in the wings' as it were is an entirely different experience. Now don't get me wrong - I am not for a moment suggesting that you, my reader, must get two people to fight and witness the provocation result in the aforementioned act - no, never! All that I am saying is that it quite took me by shock - and my mind flayed around with options for the next course of action that must follow.
Believe me, the first thought that crossed my mind was the famed preacher on the mount who had advocated the 'showing of the other cheek' in such situations - but the rational part of me was offended- because, technically the hit had been to the centre of the face and therefore choosing the right/correct cheek could have posed further problems.
As someone, who was not at the receiving end of this benediction, I pondered a while and came to the conclusion that in actual fact and quite contrary to popular belief, this was actually a 'gentle' act. Now think about it - the right handed form the majority of the population and a slap administered with the opposite limb must, in effect, land with a much lesser force. But I do quake and shudder at the thought of a left handed person - and in all fairness I think, they ought to be told to use their right hand when the situation of using it for such purposes presents itself.
I leave you with the conundrum of what might happen when the ambidextrous who constitute a miniscule percentage of the population are provoked...