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Portraits: Hercules XXX

Why is a shot of rum called a nuncle?

In his deathbed, a longtime family friend, my parents' comrade in theater and music, my uncle, asked my mother to sing a song from the days when they used to jam in our drawing room. I imagine the hospital room to be painted in white, a cricket match going on silently on the tv hung above the neatly organized flower pots on a wallside table, silently yet violently asserting life's continuum in that dreary death-ridden 15k-per-day space. I imagine my mother holding his hands in hers trying to sing a song, trying hard in embarrassment not to hit the notes too well, doubting whether it's the right song for the moment, worrying the whole time whether he's dying in peace.
His death two days later didn't cause any serious wave of mourning among the friends who knew him; who knew, also, that his liver had been punctured and stitched back many times over, and that his death with all its violence was, in a sense, mercy. But it caused an …

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