A mere touch of the hand can be healing, loving or humiliating, with its power to resurrect or destroy… be mindful of how you use your hands!
A hand placed on the head is a blessing, while a hand that touches the feet seeks a blessing. When a hand touches your face, it is a gesture of affection, while the same hand placed on the shoulder becomes a sign of support. However, on the shoulder it could also signify restraint. On the neck, the clasp of a hand becomes threatening, but placed on the back it is protective. On the hip or leg, the hand is lascivious, while under the elbow the same hand becomes a guide. When a hand grips your upper arm, it is aggressive, but when it is warmly placed in your hand, it becomes a loving partnership.
The same hands rise in prayer and support. But a hand also rises to hit someone! You lend a hand when you offer support, but when you ask for someone’s hand, you are requesting them to become your life partner. You throw up your hands in frustration, but suspects are asked to raise their hands in surrender.
So many nuances, so many emotions, so many interpretations! But one thing is for sure. How a hand makes one feel, apart from where it is placed on your anatomy and the intention of the one who touches, also depends on consent or acceptance of the one touched.
Skin or clothes, when a hand touches your body without consent, it leaves a feeling of degradation and repulsion. An unwanted touch anywhere is repulsive and leaves behind a dirty, mortified, and even helpless feeling. Any woman can tell you this. A grope is a grope, and it is offensive and invasive. Beyond that is law and its interpretation of molestation, assault, rape or outraging a woman’s modesty by Justice Pushpa Ganediwala or the stay by the Supreme Court. When a 39-year-old man touches a 12-year-old girl’s breasts through her clothes, every woman already knows what it is. Every man knows and feels it too. Beyond that, the choice whether or not to respect this knowledge is also in your ‘hands’.
We are all ruled by the hand of fate and see God’s hand in everything; nobody can escape the hand of death. Hands can show appreciation by clapping or banging a desk in Parliament and show derision when you are told to talk to the hand! A hand that feeds you is someone who helps you, but eating out of that hand, means to be completely controlled by the person. To get out of hand is to be out of control, while getting the upper hand or taking life in your hands is to be in control.
Gestures help people pay more attention to what we say, but they also help us speak more fluidly; it is said they help access memories. Research shows that children who use more hand gestures have greater language abilities later.
Did you know that you can make or break deals at work by the use of hands? Hands behind your back means you are hiding something, and under the table make you look shady. Hands in pockets signify arrogance or discomfort. Playing with your hair or touching your face repeatedly makes you look distracted, while putting your hands on hips is an aggressive stance. Do not touch people; a touch is not always welcome. No sleight of hand can save you then!
And of course, you have to ‘hand’ it to Bollywood for the generous use of ‘hands’ to convey nuances of romance through lyrics – from Dev Anand crooning to Waheeda in ‘Guide’ — Lakh mana le duniya, saath na ye chootega; aake mere haathon mein haath na ye chootega…. to Rajesh Khanna with Tanuja in ‘Mere Jeevan Saathi’ — Tum jo pakad lo haath mera, duniya badal sakta hoon main, and Aaamir Khan for Kajol in ‘Fanaa’ — Mere haath mein tera haath ho, saari jannatein mere saath hon… the hand is omnipresent!
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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