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Supposing it had been Gerda who had followed him tonight. No good saying people didn’t do such things. As a doctor, he knew only too well what people, high-minded, sensitive, fastidious, honourable people constantly did. They listened at doors, and opened letters and spied and snooped – not because for one moment they approved of such conduct, but because, before the sheer necessity of human anguish, they were rendered desperate

The Hollow. Agatha Christie

What is it to be Human? It is to be fragile, it is to have doubts and fears. If those doubts and fears drive us temporarily we are capable of all actions that we would normally shirk from or frown upon. But the anxiety, the worry that drives our mind insane sometimes can make us take the less trodden path. That is when we listen at doors, peep through key holes or go through someone else’s phone log and chats. The little quote is from a 60’s novel yet it rings true for us even in this day and age. An age where modes of communication have increased, our lives have become more public, at the same time we have more to hide, more secrets and more people who want to know them. The readers may argue not all spying, snooping or opening of mails and phone messages stems from anxiety, fears and doubts. They are right, because there are a variety of reasons people may resort to these behaviors. But I am only analyzing the emotional push that sends our sense of propriety, sense of personal space into a turmoil and we find ourselves clawing and clutching at straws to feed the demons in our head bursting to come out. And what happens after we have managed to open the mail and read it, disappointment, Because unfortunately, there is always something some one wants to keep private. And when it is discovered all hell does break loose.

Has anyone tried this exercise, opened the phone messages and wondered which one’s we would not want certain persons in our life to see. There must be a few! Strangely, something prevents us from deleting them. Doesn’t it? As if we like taking this risk. I don’t know what are the complex emotions that work behind our inability to remove things which are ‘secret’, because we hate letting go, because they are reminders of time gone by? I do not know.

But the impulse to check on someone else’s life, to see what they hide, (we all hide things), is sometimes unbearable, it pushes through the other senses that stop you, it curbs the conscience and suddenly you find looking into something you should not be looking at.

Perhaps in this age of cynicism that we live in, we cannot expect anyone to understand the predicament through which one suffers before finding one’s hand’s in the proverbial cookie jar, but the quote from Agatha Christie touched me in its basic understanding and elaboration of the human nature that worked behind these spy like actions.

Do you often spy on someone else? Tell me about it.


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