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I use public transport to commute to work, at least couple of times in a week. It involves changing trains and takes couple of hours, one-way.

During these journeys to work place, one phenomenon that has become a regular feature is dealing with backpacks, not the one which I carry but by others. I in fact do not carry a backpack as I am still using the old-fashioned laptop carry bag, which is having shoulder straps.

This phenomenon of having to deal with these backpacks of various colors and shapes is something that I have not experienced during my early days of commute to work. Back in those days, a decade back, there were not many people who carry laptops to work and that too using public transport.

Nowadays, if you are using public transport, be it a local train or a city bus, chances are that somebody will bump onto you with their backpack that might be carrying a high-end laptop are very high. I presume these backpacks are with laptops as most of the people that I notice with a backpack will be with a tag that holds an identity card, either hanging from their necks or semi-tucked into their pant pockets. Some of them will be displaying their ID cards very clearly that you will be able to read the organization’s name they work, and usually the choice of to be displayed or not is dependent on how big the company that they work for.

The point that I am talking is not about whether somebody is displaying an ID or not. It is about the inconvenience that these backpacks cause to others. People carrying these backpacks will not know whether their backpack is hitting their co-travelers or if it is protruding so much into their co-travelers space that they have to literally push it away. If you happen to stand and travel, it will be even more worse as with every movement the backpack carrying people make, it will either hit you or will be very close to your face, so much close that you will be feeling scary, or it will make you arrested in one position that you cannot move yourself without the permission of the backpack owner. All this while the backpack owner listens to some music through their earphones or while they just enjoy themselves in their own world.

It will be very uncomfortable for somebody to stand at their back and keep adjusting to the movements of the backpack as otherwise you will be hit. Only choice one will have is to keep looking at the backpack and keep enjoying its color or any pattern that it might carry.

Till date, I have not noticed even a single person who really moves around in such a way that his/her backpack is not going to cause any inconvenience to others and is cognizant of the fact that the backpack occupies some space beyond their back. It will be nightmarish thing to handle if somebody decides to get down before you do and he/she moves from one corner to another corner all the while carrying the backpack. Important point here is not that people with these backpacks want to hurt others, it is just that they will not be knowing how much inconvenience it is causing to others as backpack will be on their back and they tend to think everything is normal as is in front of them.

NOW, for a moment, replace the backpack that carries a laptop with a backpack that carries our emotions. How many times we would have been moved around with same kind of ignorance that our backpack is actually not hurting anybody?

We talk without thinking from another person’s perspective and talk all that we think is right. We will neither have patience to understand or listen to the other person nor the inclination to see the other person’s perspective. We talk unmindful of what the other person is thinking.

 We also see people talking in a hurting manner and telling things like “I talk straight”, “I talk openly”, “I talk like this because I love you so much”, “I will not be knowing what I talk if I get angry, but after that I will forget”, “My concern on you is the one making me to talk like this”, etc.

People who hurt others with their talk and emotions are the people like I mentioned above who travel with backpacks unmindful of fellow travelers. They will not know anything about the hurt these backpacks are causing and think that everything is as fine as everything in front of them.

As human beings, we all must be wary of the emotional backpacks that we carry and we must move around in a way that we will be mindful of our fellow travelers in the journey of life. It is not possible for us to travel without an emotional backpack but the question is how much are you mindful about it and how are you moving around carrying it.

We can be straight, we can be open, but there is a way of communicating our feelings without losing the focus on the point and without hurting.

Most of times, the feeling of hurt is not because of the facts that we talk but because of the way we talk, much like – it is not the backpack that is hurting but the way the person is moving around with it.

So, let us watch our backpacks while we move around – be it a laptop carrying backpack, be it an emotional backpack.

(Image used above is taken from the website http://injapan.gaijinpot.com/)