A Letter To Mark Twain

In 1897, a reporter was sent to investigate whether Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) had died. This was due to a mix up – in fact his was cousin who was seriously ill.

Twain wrote an article about the incident which included the famous quote – “The report of my death is an exaggeration”.

If I had been there, I would have immediately written to Twain:

Dear Mr. Twain,I was deeply saddened to learn of your untimely demise. But this grief was quickly and immensely overshadowed when I found out that you were denying any such reports.As a man of learning, you would surely be aware of the current state of trust, or the lack thereof, that the public has in the press in general. It is a precarious situation and would worsen if they were to find out that the press has been mistaken on an issue of prominence such as your demise. In chaotic times, such as the ones we live it, it is imperative that the press act as beacon of hope and that no doubts are cast on it’s veracity.

In addition, there are many private parties, the present author included, who would like to see you in the state of physical thanatos that they believe that your mental faculties in any case had entered some time ago.

And lastly, Mr. Twain: you have worked hard and long and it would perhaps not be a bad time to consider resting.

I urge you, thus, in the interest of both the public good and private pleasure to reconsider the decision of your bereavement.


-Varun Varma

I expect his reply would have been:

Dear Mr. Varma,Upon due consideration of your various meritorious arguments, I have decided that you are indeed correct and thus I will stay in the state of thanatos that is expected of me by the public at large.I would request you to communicate with my creditors and apprise them of my current situation. I pray to God that they will react as generously as one would hope in time of such grief and forget all my past and future debts.


-Mark Twain

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