Guess Who Mark Twain is Talking About?

This morning after reading a quote from Mark Twain put forth by a reader of the SI blog, we hurriedly trooped over to the local library and picked up the renowned American author’s Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World, Vol 2.


Because the book details Mark Twain’s experiences in India.

In the course of his long journeys around the world, Mark Twain dropped anchor at several ports.

In late December 1895, he set sail from Sydney for Ceylon.

And after a brief stop of just a day in Colombo, Twain left for India on January 14.

Sailing on the rickety ship Rosetta, Mark Twain reached the glorious chaos capital of the world that is Bombay on the evening of January 18, 1896 (or maybe, it was finally January 20 before he stepped on Indian soil).

Here’s the American author writing about XXXXXXX in his early days in Bombay:

He has been reincarnated more times than Shiva; and he has kept a sample of each incarnation, and fused it into his constitution. In the course of his evolutionary promotions, his sublime march toward ultimate perfection, he has been a gambler, a low comedian, a dissolute priest, a fussy woman, a blackguard, a scoffer, a liar, a thief, a spy, an informer, a trading politician, a swindler, a professional hypocrite, a patriot for cash, a reformer, a lecturer, a lawyer, a conspirator, a rebel, a royalist, a democrat, a practicer and propagator of irreverence, a meddler, an intruder, a busybody, an infidel, and a wallower in sin for the mere love of it. The strange result, the incredible result, of this patient accumulation of all damnable traits is, that he does not know what care is, he does not know what sorrow is, he does not know what remorse is; his life is one long thundering ecstasy of happiness, and he will go to his death untroubled, knowing that he will soon turn up again as an author or something, and be even more intolerably capable and comfortable than ever he was before.

Now let’s see if you folks can guess who Mark Twain is talking about in the above excerpt.

14 Responses to "Guess Who Mark Twain is Talking About?"

  1. Vetti Jijaji   October 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    [deleted] Responds:


    No cheating allowed. 🙁

  2. medytrance   October 12, 2009 at 12:06 am


    (Courtesy: [deleted]) Responds:

    Does Guess mean the same as Google in Indlish?

  3. kennedy   October 12, 2009 at 5:48 am

    [deleted] Responds:

    Did you guess or google?

    Or is there a remote chance (fat chance, eh) that you read the book.

  4. kennedy   October 12, 2009 at 8:04 am

    googled it … 🙂

    But I like works by foreign authors who have written about or in India. For instance Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children”, Yann Martel’s “Life of Pie”, Gregory Davis Robert’s “Shantaram”.

    And i happened to read some pages of the book while googling for the answer, and this description of XXXXXX is really cool. Very refreshing perspective.

    I think i ll read it. Responds:

    You write: googled it

    Et tu.

    The Indian section of Part 2 is 272 pages (p.13-284).

    We’ve read about 41 pages so far. Hope to finish it soon.

    Makes for very interesting reading. India as seen through an American eye in the 19th century.

  5. What_if   October 12, 2009 at 8:19 am

    In the midst of our busy day, with your excerpt – you make us go on a wild goose chase over the net!
    Oops! its not the wild goose –

    Its [deleted] ! Mark Twain is talking about.

    Found the book on the net, very interesting!

    Amavasaikku kuppittu soru vaikira [deleted] pathi enna oru varnanai! In those days, My grandma used to call & feed it in memory of my Grandpa.

    Will read the rest of the book – when time permits. Thanks for introducing Mark Twain. Responds:

    The book may not be easily available in India and elsewhere.

    But Project Gutenberg has the book here (Part 4-7).

  6. Dr.UnkHaf D. Aktar   October 12, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Oh come on! Nobody would guess the right answer.

    My guesses went like this:
    Sanyasis (The roadside ones)

    Then I cheated (googled).

    Now I know 😉 Responds:

    That was a lovely description for the humble XXXXXXX.

    We’re enjoying the book. 🙂

  7. Dr.UnkHaf D. Aktar   October 12, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Btw, you have watched, reviewed and liked “[a movie name that reveals the answer]” right? 😀 Responds:

    Aye, no spoilers here. 🙁

  8. Vetti Jijaji   October 12, 2009 at 9:33 am

    What_if said Thanks for introducing Mark Twain ..
    Haven’t read Tom Sawyer/Fuckleberry Hinn?

    Here’s some Tom Sawyer for you: Responds:

    Nice song.

    Just purchased it on iTunes for $1.29 (the highest these cheap desis have paid for a track).

    Playing Tom Sawyer in the background:

    A modern-day warrior
    Mean mean stride,
    Today’s Tom Sawyer
    Mean mean pride.

    Though his mind is not for rent,
    Dont put him down as arrogant.
    His reserve, a quiet defense,
    Riding out the day’s events….

    And what you say about his company
    Is what you say about society….

    Thanks. 🙂

  9. Vetti Jijaji   October 12, 2009 at 10:56 am

    This song was the most endearing factor for me in “I love you, man” Responds:

    1. Lovely movie, I Love You Man.

    We referenced Rush in the review too.

    ‘You don’t know Rush?’

    2. Also watch:

  10. shadowfax_arbit   October 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    [deleted] Responds:

    For all:

    Whether we are Tamil, Telugu, Kannadiga or Bengali, whether we studied in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore or Kolkata, whether we are above-40 or below-40, whether we are married or single, whether we have a long d*ck or tight p*ssy, whether we are Muslim or Hindu, whether we don a chudidar or trousers is all of no account.

    SI is above all these infantile distinctions (not the same as erectile dysfunctions). 😉


  11. boopalanj   October 12, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Read this excerpt before. [but not the book!]

    Have you read “48 Laws of Power” ? – Not a great book, but I’m enjoying the short-stories and anecdotes from history with author giving new perspectives to them. Responds:

    No, haven’t read 48 Laws of Power. Looked ’em up on Wiki, they seem sensible.

    If you like short stories, try O.Henry’s collection.

  12. badri_29   October 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    The answer is the “Ind*** C*** Responds:

    Yet another Googler?

  13. deepa   October 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I gotta admit, Badri_29’s Ind*** C*** had me thinking of something else!!!!!!!!!!!

    I googled it, couldnt help it lah, you guys werent giving away the answer and it was killing me.

    I must say what an illustrious explanation to it. It’s amazing how Mark had dedicated several paragraphs to it when not many who look at it would give it a second thought. Responds:

    1. You write: I gotta admit, Badri_29’s Ind*** C*** had me thinking of something else!!!!!!!!!!!

    Really Funny. 😉

    You can take the Indian out of India (to Malaysia, UK, USA et al) but you can’t take the lust out of the Indian. Still laughing over your original guess.

    It’s all Badri_29’s fault.

    2. You write: It’s amazing how Mark had dedicated several paragraphs to it when not many who look at it would give it a second thought.

    It’s a nice book. Finished over 100-pages. Gives you a peek into the lives of Indians in the late 19th century from a non-Indian perspective.

  14. deepa   October 13, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    ha ha ha, what can i say we all are a bunch of lusty, horny pervs

    I checked my local bookstore….and they dont have the book. You are right, its not available in many places Responds:

    If you are willing to read the online version., Project Gutenberg has the book here (Part 4-7).

You must be logged in to post a comment Login