Bags of burden

Dangerous trend

Bags of burden

There was a time when one regular lady’s handbag was sufficient to carry all her requirements to office - a diary, couple of pens, a comb, compact, lipstick and lip balm. These days, hop on to a Metro during the morning office hour and you can practically see every working woman carrying at least three bags – a laptop bag hung on the shoulder, a nice designer purse for files and folders perched on the elbow and a rough jute bag possibly carrying the tiffin.

All of these combined would not weigh anything less than six kilos – the weight of a small child – and enough to bring you down with severe neck, shoulder and back pain. But then, utility and fashion take precedence over health for many of us women.

Fashion designer Preeti Saluja of Miami brand says, “Carrying a number of bags does look stylish. It gives the impression that the woman bearing them is a great multi-tasker, independent and responsible. Then there is the fashion of maxi bags popularised by celebs like Victoria Beckham. When you have a big bag, you would want to stuff it further making it heavier. I have seen so many girls in the Metro standing with these large bags for hours. I am sure they are not comfortable.”

Doctors say it is not just a question of comfort but carrying too many or heavy bags can land you in serious health trouble. Dr Bipin Walia, head, Neuro-spine section, Max Healthxcare, says, “The principle of carrying a bag is to balance its weight across the shoulders. That is why a laptop bag, even if heavy, is safe to carry when slung fittingly on both the shoulders. However, I am surprised to see girls hanging purses on their arms or the elbow as if they were coat racks.”

“If one continues to do it for weeks and longer, depending on the weight of your bag, you will develop nerve pain in the arm. This is besides local shoulder ache, neck pain and back pain. As carrying heavy bags disturbs your body posture, it will soon result in knee pain too bringing an early onset of arthritis. This will be compounded if you wear high heels.”

No educated lady can be totally unaware of these facts. So for those who don’t want to dump their n number of big bags still, Preeti says, “Clear your bag on a weekly basis. There is so much that we accumulate in our bags daily like papers and bills which can be removed. Also, carry only the bare essentials – may be a notebook, some pens and light make-up. We think we need the world in our bag but try and go frugal and you’ll see that you are not stranded for anything.”  Try it.  

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