Hot as Hell..!

“How’s the heat in Bombay, Bob?” asks a friend.

 “Hot as hell!” I say, wiping the sweat flowing down my brow, then ask myself, “What do I know of hell, that I can compare the heat around me with the fiery furnace below?”

At the moment nothing, and hopefully won’t land there to know anything about it, which makes me ponder on days of old, when people tried to do good so as not to reach there. Do they anymore?

As I see Putin waging war on a country tinier than his, doesn’t he fear those flaming tongues of fire?

Maybe, that’s the problem with all of us, we don’t, because we feel life goes on. We may attend a hundred funerals, visit many in the hospitals, read about the dead in train accidents, but ultimately feel immortal.

Okay, so you don’t believe in heaven or hell, but aren’t you bothered about how you will be remembered after you are gone?

The other day, a picture of a professor of mine was put up in a WhatsApp group. I remember him, as one who influenced me greatly with his teaching, especially his knowledge of Shakespeare, and then I saw the barrage of hate that came from many students. It’s then I realized that the man might have been a good professor, but was cruel to those he did not like.

“Either you follow my teaching, or I have disdain for you!” seemed to have been his attitude.

A good teacher, who was remembered not for his brilliance but his cruelty!

I see this in today’s politicians. The job of a politician is to lead through convincing, but today’s leaders lead through forcing their will on others, using blackmail, cunning and threats.

When I was in Portugal, I saw the lasting effects of a dictatorship: The Salazar dictatorship in Portugal was the longest dictatorship in Europe, lasting 41 years? Yes, he finally died, yes, the people are free today, but I found that compared to their Spanish neighbours, they are a timid people!

Years of being driven against the wall, of losing their voice, and being suppressed had done lasting damage.

It must be ‘hot as hell’ for Salazar, wherever he is as people remember him with distaste!

Whereas our own Gandhiji, though felled by an assassin’s bullet, is revered and remembered, not just in India, but all over the world.

Despite history, showing dictators, and autocrats in a poor light, again and again and again, they still opt to use the same methods that have failed, preferring I guess the heat of hell, or the heat of anger, the public later have!

Can’t leaders instead work with love and be remembered as great statesmen? Or maybe when they fall in love with the hotseat they forget hell’s fires..!

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at and can be reached at