TAKE TWO (On the occasion of Twins Days – August 5, 6, 7)

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There’s something about anonymous sayings.  That is, until now, I’ve not found one that?s not beautifully thought provoking.  Take this one for example ?

Have you ever noticed how many more twins are born than ever before?
I think children are getting afraid of coming into this world alone
.” (Source unknown)

Here’s another one that comes straight from the heart and is from a mother of twins.

There are two to wash; there are two to dry,
There are two who argue, there are two who cry.
One’s in the mud having a ball,
The other holds a crayon, another?s marked a wall.
Some days seem endless and my patience grows thin.
Why was I chosen to be the mother of twins?
The answer comes clear at the end of each day,
As I tuck them in bed and to myself I say,
There are two to kiss, there are two to hug,
And best of all, there are two to love.

Who hasn’t been fascinated with twins?  Some of us may be lucky enough to have them in our families, while some of us may have known them as classmates or friends.  There?s no denying that there?s a mysterious quality about them, that draws immediate attention and of course curiosity.  This curiosity was what probably took me to googling on the net and what I found there was mind-boggling. 

Twins were everywhere, including the news. Olympic gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm, Barbara and Jenna Bush, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Julia Robert?s famous twins, Actress Geena Davis had twins at 47.  Then there were clubs for parents of twins growing in almost every city and support clubs for families who were facing double the everyday costs and stress that comes with parenting.  Baby stores sold strollers built for two. There were Internet shopping sites that cater to twos. There was even a Twins magazine.  And hear this – Twins Days in Twinsburg, Ohio is the world’s largest annual gathering of twins, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Every August since 1976, twins and parents of same, from around the world, descend on this small town just south of Cleveland for a weekend of socializing, celebration and fun.  Twins Days takes place on the first full weekend of August each year.  For 2005, that’s August 5, 6, and 7 and that’s starting from today. 

Wow! This was a whole new world within our world.  Haven’t many of us wondered at times – what?s it like to BE a twin?  Well, we have tried to understand twins better by getting three sets of twins to answer a few questions and their answers may definitely surprise you.  When you expect them to agree they come up with completely opposing answers and when you think they?re going to differ, they give almost identical replies.  You might end up seeing double and thinking double but at the end of it all, I hope some pieces of the puzzle will fall into place.  So?..Sit back, read, prepare to be confused and be doubly entertained.

Our Twins

Gail & Gwayne ? are identical twins who reside in Chicago, USA, with their parents, Godwin and Dorothy Rego.  They are both presently studying in Triton College, Chicago.

Lloyd & Lester ? are fraternal twins who reside in Mangalore, India, with their parents, Vincent and Maureen Pinto.  They are currently students of Milagres College, Mangalore.

Sohan & Sonali ? are fraternal twins born to Marie Albuquerque and late Archie Albuquerque.  While Sohan works for Barwil in Dubai, UAE, Sonali teaches at St. Aloysius School, Mangalore.

Twins are commonly referred to collectively as ‘Twins’.  Worse still, sometimes your names are clubbed together and shortened to one.  Does this lead to an identity crisis?

Gwayne ? Yup, that?s one thing I can agree on, without any doubt ? the fact that being twins, our names are always combined together to form a short name for both of us, that way when we are called we both respond. For example my name is Gwayne and my twin sister?s name is Gail therefore to avoid confusion our names are combined and shortened together to form Gwail.  We?ve gotten used to our names being combined, so we find it funny rather than annoying, although there are occasional instances when we do get annoyed.  Sometimes, I respond to my sister?s name and vice versa, confusing people, it?s a habit that we developed from the time we were young. So basically we respond not only to the combined name but to each other?s names as well.
Gail – In most cases, no. In the few cases it does happen, it is funny and sometimes annoying. For example, if one of us makes a mistake and the other doesn?t, both of us will still be held responsible. As for the name ?issue? we are both used to being called gail, gwayne, gailgwayne, or twins. If you say either of the four, chances are I will respond.

Lloyd ? At times, I do feel that I don?t have my individuality since we are constantly paired as ?twins? and expected to do similar things.  It does get irritating as we are two different individuals with different opinions and ideas.
Lester ? I never felt that way.  Although we are twins we still have our own identity and individuality.  Of course, people may club our names together but I?ve learnt to ignore them.

Sohan ? In theory, being a twin can definitely lead to an identity crisis, in the sense that one loses one’s own identity.  In my case, this was never a problem, as no such clubbing of names was done.  We have separate names and were called as such.
Sonali – This did not arise in our case as both of us are fraternal twins. Added to this one was a boy and the other a girl.  No question of an identity crisis. 

When did you first realize your birth was special?  Did you try to learn more about twins in general?

Gwayne ? It took time for me to realize just how special my birth was and still is. When I was young it didn?t strike me just how different I was from the rest of the kids who didn?t have a twin. Gail and I have never really had that many close friends, we befriended everyone but they weren?t that close to us. I was 13 yrs. old when we had just recently moved from the Middle East (Abu-Dhabi) to the U.S. (Chicago). We had finished the 7th grade and were just starting the 8th grade, which was middle school in the U.S. or grammar school, as we knew it.  One day we were standing outside in the playground as usual, I noticed an obese boy and a skinny girl sitting in separate corners all by themselves and I turned my head to see that Gail was standing next to me. It was then that I realized I wasn?t alone and I?ve never been alone. From that day on I realized just how blessed I was for God had given me a best friend, someone I could relate to, share my problems with, someone I could laugh, fight, cry, eat, do whatever I wanted to do with. Occasionally when I feel alone I always have flashbacks or memories of when we were small till the present, either through photos or just memory, or I look at her and I get this huge grin on my face. I?m always trying to learn more about twins in general; I had to give a speech in high school and I decided to do it on being a twin. Gail is my best friend and I would not trade her for anyone.
Gail ? I first got interested in the topic of twins when I had no choice but to research the topic for speech class.  The fascination though, started when my mom told me how we were born and when I sometimes looked at pictures of us two. I knew that the bond between Gwayne and I was special when we discovered we have ESP ? Extra Sensory Perception, like most identical twins do.  It still fascinates us both.

Lloyd & Lester ? Well, we both felt our birth was special but the feeling very gradually became stronger as we grew up.  One thing that added to our fascination was that there were three pairs of twins in our class.  It is not surprising that after meeting these twins we got to know more about twins in general.

Sohan – I realised that I was part of twins very young, when Mum would introduce us to relations and friends as twins.  When I realised this, I did try to get a lot of information on and about twins, types of twins, and so on.  This information I could gather from people in the family, relations, neighbours, friends and of course, books.
Sonali ? Just like Sohan, I too realized very young that I was part of twins and yes, I made it a point to learn more about both identical twins & fraternal twins. Our birth was special as we were twins but were of different sexes. 

Are you proud to be identified publicly as twins or do you underplay your similarity?  For eg. do you take care not to match clothes, hairstyles etc.?

Gwayne – It depends from time to time. I am always proud to be identified as a twin, identical twin to be precise. Of course there are exceptions when I get irritated. People assume that since we?re twins we have the same likes and dislikes, and that we?re actually one person cloned. It?s not true, in fact, it happens to be one of the most common misconceptions of identical twins. Yah we may look identical, but that?s only as far as outer looks go. On the other hand, who we are as individuals, our thoughts, feelings, and our likes and dislikes differ.  As for our sense in fashion, music, hairstyles – we do have a lot of styles that we both like and dislike, but we choose to be different. If we happen to like a particular shirt then we get one each in a different color, same can be said for other things as well. The last time I remember having the exact same hair, clothes, jewelry, shoes, toys, even glasses was when we were in the Middle East (Abu-Dhabi) for 12 yrs. Ever since we came to the U.S. we wanted to develop our own identity.  It was partly based on the fact that our classmates insisted that we didn?t need to be exactly alike and partly based on the fact that we would get confused and even fight about whether I was having or wearing Gail?s stuff and vice versa. Of course when it comes to sharing we?re all for it. 
Gail –  I guess I could say I?m proud to be a twin, especially when you get that “look” from people noticing you for the first time or the second or third. At the same time, we underplay our role as twins. We?ve never played a prank on people just for the mere fact that we don?t have to because they get confused easily. For 12 years my sis and I dressed exactly the same, down to the sock and shoes. So yeah, now we try to look unlike as much as possible. Though sometimes if Gwayne wears a red shirt and I like it, I?ll get the exact same shirt but in green or blue or some other color. This does not mean that we don?t swap clothes every now and then.

Lloyd – We prefer dressing up differently as we have different choices and different styles.  It was okay to match clothes when we were kids but not anymore. 
Lester ? Yeah?.now that we are in college, we don?t like wearing matching clothes.  As it is, because of the similarity in our looks people stare at us all the time.  If we matched from head to toe, even the girls in Mangalore would have a hard time differentiating between the two of us and that would be a big disadvantage for us. 

Sohan ? I am very proud to be identified as being part of twins; there is no reason not to be so.  The other part of your question did not arise in my case, as my twin was from the oppostie sex and so would have a wholly different approach to things like hairstyles, clothes and the like from me.
Sonali ? Yes, I am proud to be identified as a twin.  Matching things like clothes and hair, etc were probably done by Mum when we were in our first year, too small to even remember.  As we grew up this never arose. 

Have you ever been separated for long periods of time?? If so, how has this affected you?  If not, does the prospect of separation trouble you?

Gwayne ? Yes I have. We went to an all girls? catholic high school called Trinity High School, where it is a requirement for all the girls (regardless of their religion) to attend a junior and senior Kairos retreat.  A Kairos retreat consists of us high school girls sharing, bonding, crying, relating, storytelling, dancing, eating, laughing, basically discovering what we have in common and what we want to do with our lives.  Gail and I were separated during our junior retreat.  When she was gone for those 2 days, I felt depressed, I couldn?t eat or sleep, I basically couldn?t function properly without her. She was constantly on my mind and it scared me to know that in the future this is what was going to happen. I am going to have to let go of her and start the whole independent thing, which I know for a fact is going to be extremely hard to do, because I have been so used to being dependent on her.       
Gail – The longest my sis and me have been separated was in our Junior year in high school, during Kairos, for two days. It was weird without her. Eeerily quiet and I was?*gasp* well behaved.

Lloyd ? We have never been separated from the time of our birth until now.  As far as we can remember we have done everything together.  Since we have always been good company for each other both while studying or playing, we didn?t really feel the need to make other friends.  If someone wanted to be friends with us, it was okay with us, but if not, that was okay too. 
Lester ? Never been separated until now.  But we both know that in future, we are going to be separated.  I think we will cope.  Even though we are in different places I’m sure I will keep in touch with Lloyd and he with me.

Sohan – Separation from my twin happened after we completed our graduation and was purely on account of career choices.  Though from opposite sexes, my twin sister and I shared a bond where we discussed certain things, a fact noticed by the elder brothers.  The prospect of separation did trouble me, but then jobs & careers have dictated that we be separated. Separation did affect me in the beginning, especially when I landed in the UAE for the first time.  My elder brother was here, but the absence of my twin made me feel lonely at times.  Time is a great healer in this respect.
Sonali ? We are now separated with Sohan in Dubai and I in Mangalore. However, the prospect of separation did not really trouble me. This is for the reason that in the time we were growing up, there was a communication revolution taking place around us and so, even though Sohan is in Dubai, we still keep in touch regularly. 

Was school life stressful or pure fun?  How so?

Gwayne ?  Well it was and still is a transitional period for us.  I had to learn the hard way that middle school kids are some of the most ruthless and cruel kids that exist.  High school is where we learned a lot of things the hard way.  Coming from the Middle East and being surrounded by a lot of Indians, Gail and I had heavy Indian accents – we would get made fun of for that. Then, there was the ?American English? and the grammar, pronunciations and various meanings we had to learn – again we were made fun of for that as well.  Life in general is always going to be stressful, and that includes a huge part of school.  It is nerve-racking to live up to the expectation and stereotype that since we?re ?Indians? we have to be intelligent and will most likely have to go for a career in the medical or engineering field. Another stressful part of school, is knowing that we will be compared to every smart and talented Indian out there. Of course parts of our education can be fun, depending on whether we have a fun teacher, or the subject is fun and not to forget the classmates. There is a plus side to school – Gail. Knowing that she?s always going to be there, even if we?re not in the same classes makes it easier for me. If I?m having a hard time or I need someone to walk with me to the library or somewhere, she?s there, if I want to talk about my teachers or the subjects she?s there. Another fun thing about school is the expression on people?s faces when they see us and come to the conclusion that we?re twins, especially the teachers.   
Gail – I didn?t have it as bad as my sister did. In the beginning it was difficult adjusting to life in the U.S. but later on it became fun. I don?t know if the fact that we were twins got us to make more friends, or maybe it was the simple fact that we?re good at making friends with just about anyone.

Lloyd ? It was a mix of both ? stress and fun.  If one of us was sick and had to stay back, I could copy the notes from my brother.  This was one of the reasons, our parents wanted us to be in the same class.
Lester ? The stress part always related to the studies.  But we also had lots of fun in school.  Our teachers were always confused.  At times they have punished the wrong twin.

Sohan ? School life was sometimes a lot of fun, but sometimes it used to be stressful, especially with regard to subjects that I had to study, regardless of my choice!  Great fun used to be shared at school when we had our friends to play with and could do most of the things we wanted to do.
Sonali – Our school life was different as both of us were in different schools but we used to discuss some common topics of our lessons etc. School life was fun where I made a number of friends, though I used to hate studying subjects like Kannada & Mathematics! 

Do the other siblings in your family feel ?left out? because of the special relationship you have with each other?

Gwayne & Gail ?  Thank god we don?t have any other siblings. It?s just the two of us here and I think we?re more than enough trouble for our parents anyways.

Lloyd & Lester ? We have an elder sister who?s very proud of the fact that we?re twins.  She does not feel left out as she?s older to us by six years. She?s in fact, extroverted, independent and very protective of us.  We love her a lot.

Sohan ? The elder brothers definitely may have noticed the closeness my twin sister & I shared, but I don’t really think that they felt left out, as such.  My elder brothers were very supportive and very protective of the two of us, as far as I can remember
Sonali ? We have two elder brothers in the family.  Maybe sometimes they do feel left out ? perhaps rarely, but not always. 

What do you feel when you meet another set of twins?

Gwayne – Ecstatic. We get this giddy feeling and then talk about what similarities and differences we have.  We then try to find out how similar or different we look.
Gail – Frivolous, excited, goofy, and fascinated among other things.

Lloyd – We feel happy to see other twins and like interacting with them.
Lester ? When we see other twins, we look at them with instant understanding.

Sohan -I feel feelings of happiness, excitement, cheerfulness and pride that there are other sets of twins that I can meet and interact with.
Sonali – Feel happy and delighted as they too will have similar things in common and love each other more, like we do. 

We’ve heard so much about the ?bonding? and ?telepathy? between twins.  Tell us more.

Gwayne – We have many ways of bonding and we always laugh when it happens. I’ll have a particular song that I?m singing in my mind, and after a few minutes Gail starts singing the same song out loud or vice versa. It also happens with quotes from movies or TV shows. There are also times where we say the exact same sentence or sentences at the same time or do a particular action or facial expression at the same time. This happens on a regular basis, yet every time it happens we?re shocked. We?ve also had the same dreams at least twice. One dream is of the soccer field (in the Middle East) a few feet from our backyard, turning into a desert. As for the other dream, we had it on the same day. Gail and I kept running and jumping from our apartment balcony window (we lived on the 3rd floor) to the ground again and then running back up and repeating the entire thing. Gail dreamed that it was happening to her and I dreamed that it was happening to me. When I tried to tell my dream and stopped half way, she finished the rest of the dream for me and that?s how we found out that we had gotten the same dream.
Gail – Yup. ESP, my sis and I have it. There are many occurrences that take place between the two of us that happen too often or rarely. The rare ones for example is my sis and I getting the same dreams, though at different times and it?s exactly the way she has described it here.

Lloyd ? Well, we are very close to each other, in the sense that we confide in each other a lot.  But we also have our own set of friends.  As for telepathy, well we do know how the other is going to react to a certain situation but can?t tell what the other is thinking.
Lester ? Bonding could be very strong in the case of identical twins, but since we are fraternal, we are more like pals. 

Sohan – What you refer to as ”bonding” and ”telepathy” is nothing but the love and affection we shared for each other, as we grew up and learnt the many things that we had to learn.  Discussing these issues and events and trying to make sense of it all used to result in bonding and telepathy about how to react in a given scenario.
Sonali ? Bonding, yes there is closeness between us regarding many topics but regarding telepathy I feel it happens more in the case of identical twins.

Any interesting anecdotes or ?twin-tales? to tell?

Gwayne – There has so far been one very strange and bizarre ?ESP? incident that I?m still in awe about. It took place in our junior year of high school. We were in the same physics class and most of the students were just done with an experiment. For some strange reason I was bored and had eyed a heavy black object on one of the lab tables. I started playing with it and dropped it on my right foot. Gail?s group was not yet done so she was still doing her lab.  The moment I dropped the heavy black object, I flinched and lifted my right leg and at the same time so did Gail, but the object didn?t fall on her leg. I don?t think Gail had seen it as she was doing her lab. And that wasn?t the only thing that happened, immediately after dropping the heavy black object on my leg my left cheek had turned red and was burning and later Gail told me that her left cheek was burning and I noticed that it was red too. The students that did see it were in awe and some were cynical about it.
Gail ? Yes, that was one of the weirdest ESP experience that happened between us.  She accidentally dropped an object on her right foot. I was engrossed in my lab and didn?t see this happen, but for some strange reason I yelped and lifted my right leg like I?d dropped something on it.  It was one of the students that told me that my sis had dropped a heavy object on her leg. And if that itself wasn?t weird, her left cheek had turned red and was burning and when I touched my left cheek it was burning as well. It was weird and mesmerized the class at that time.

Lloyd & Lester ? Well, when we were in kindergarten, we were running around the house in opposite directions and there was a thick curtain which separated a room.  Never realizing we were running towards each other, we collided very badly, were rushed to the hospital, and got six matching stitches each on our respective heads.  We also heard that it was the first case in the history of Fr. Mullers hospital that two people had to get their heads stitched after colliding with each other.

Sohan ? I don’t remember any incident in particular, but have memories of an incident that occurred when we were still very small and which has been narrated to us by our mother.  My twin sister was crawling around, already on solid food, when all of a sudden it was noticed that the spoon she was playing around with, went missing.  They looked for it high and low but to no avail.  Mum thought that she had swallowed the spoon and even took her to the doctor!  However to everyone’s relief, the spoon was found the next day by the maid sweeping the compound!!  Since then, there was always some mirth at home whenever a spoon went missing! 
Sonali ? The funniest thing that I remember about my twin brother is the way he ended his crying.  After all the loud bawling it would end in a horse-like whimper “humph”.  Even today if at all he does shed a tear, we all wait for the whimper, which has long gone away, of course! 

Do you have a special language (verbal or non-verbal) with which you communicate with each other?

Gwayne – My mom told me that when we were small we were in our own world, and would often communicate in our own language, for some strange reason I remember that too. Even now we either give each other a certain look or a word or alphabet and we get what the other is talking about, while the rest of the people around us are like ?what the hell are you guys saying??
Gail – Yup. We sometimes just look at each other and can ?read minds? or sometimes just make a weird sound or shout out some letters and the other gets it.  Or sometimes we have our own twin ?codes?.

Llyod & Lester ? Not really.  We can guess each other?s reactions but that?s about it.

Sohan – No, not at all. We’d just speak in normal languages – English & Konkani – that were spoken in our house, church, neighbourhood, school, college, etc.
Sonali – No, we did not have a special language to communicate with each other. 

Do you refer to yourself often as ‘we’ rather than ‘I’?

Gwayne – As you can see above, I have a tendency of referring to myself as ?we? rather than ‘I’ almost 99.9% of the time. It comes out of habit.
Gail – A BIG yes.

Llyod & Lester ? Most of the time its ‘I’.  We know we have different personalities so we agree to differ almost always.

Sohan – I guess when we were smaller we would use ‘we’ rather than ‘I’, but I think with time and geography and careers, etc, it is more of ”I” than ”we”!
Sonali – Yes often it is ?we?. 

Sharing material things to sharing of ideas ? can ‘sharing’ be stressful at times? Are there times when you have longed for ‘personal space’?

Gwayne – We love to share everything and anything, but of course there are limits and times when we need our personal spaces. The term ?personal space? occurs for five minutes and in one case almost an entire day. What I mean by that is, often when we get into fights that?s when ?personal space? comes into place. We fight about the most stupid things and after five minutes forget that we?re supposed to be mad at each other and talk again.
Gail – Not so much stressful as annoying. But that rarely happens. Sharing to us, is like breathing. It happens everyday and its natural. I think everyone requires personal space no matter how close you are to the other person. The issue of “personal space” comes up when we get into fights, which last for not more than five minutes.

Llyod ? We have been sharing practically our whole life, but as you grow up, you do feel the need for personal space.  Also, there could be conflict in terms of thoughts and preferences.
Lester ? Been sharing all our lives.  Now we take care to keep our clothes and personal things separate.  Personal space is very important to both of us and it keeps getting more important as we grow up.

Sohan – Sharing may or may not be stressful, but with my twin, it has never been stressful.  With regard to personal space, yes, I have longed for it, but have had to put up with the lack of it on account of other commitments.  Also – as my twin and grew up into adolescents and youngsters, we maintained our ”personal space” at home while trying not to intrude too much on what the other twin was doing.
Sonali ? Yes, sometimes sharing is stressful and we need some personal space too as we cannot discuss all the issues under the sun especially which are personal because we are of different sexes.

Is there a quality, character trait or physical attribute your twin possesses, that you wish you had yourself?

Gwayne – We are pretty much alike. Although if there was one thing that I could have that she has, it?s the fact that she has the confidence to approach and talk to people. In order for me to start talking, she has to first talk and than gradually I join in.  
Gail – We’re pretty much alike. But if there were one trait I wish I had that my sis definitely has is her selflessness.

Llyod ? Lester is taller than me.  I still have time to beat that.
Lester –  Well, Lloyd gets more attention from girls???

Sohan – Her thought process and intelligence.  I’m sure she’ll be flattered to hear this from me!
Sonali ? I sometimes wish I was of my brother?s sex ie a male (!), but seriously, I admire Sohan?s dimpled smile.  His infectious smile was noticed by everyone from the time he was born and it continues to glow and radiate. 

Describe yourselves in TWO words.

Gwayne – Gentle and humorous.
Gail ? Humorous and loving.

Llyod ? Fun-loving and daring.
Lester ? Careless and compassionate.

Sohan – Only two words?  I’ll take four ? hard working & out going.
Sonali ? Good person.

Mommy dearest ? (This one is for your mom who has faced the greatest challenge and experienced the greatest joy in giving birth to the two of you)

As the mother of ‘your’ twins what has been your experience with them so far??

Dorothy Rego (Gwayne & Gail) – When I had learnt from my OB/GYN that I was going to have ?twins? I had already decided to sacrifice my life a little bit to take care of them, so I had to resign my job and be with them until they started their preschool. I did not want to leave my precious twins in the hands of a maid. The joy I experienced when I first saw my first-born twins was incomprehensible. I used to feel unique when my twins grew up and they became the apples of my eyes.  I started calling them Gailgwayne, which I still carry on.  Our folks call them by that name even if they are alone. It was fun to dress them alike and see them grow up.  They were two little angels sent from above into our wonderful lives.   They were well behaved and well groomed kids until 10.  Then they started their little mischievousness, which they still carry on till date but they are loving and caring.  Sometimes, I feel having twins is not impressive.  Coz, though one makes a mistake, the other one gets reprimanded, even though it lasts for a little while. Sometimes it is amazing to see them sing the same song in two different places, or to get a spontaneous reply from both at the same time.  They both are fond of similar music, dance and art.  Sometimes I feel, they don?t need me as they are so much attached to each other, I feel contented that they will be there for each other when their mom is not around them.   Now, as they have grown up, we have built a very close relationship and I feel very proud that I have two friends who will be there for me during my dark days.  God bless my Gail and Gwayne and give them lots of happiness and good health in life.
Maureen Pinto (Lloyd & Lester) ? When I first came to know that I was going to have twins, I was very much shocked and to be honest, not at all prepared to face the challenge.  But when they were born I was so happy.  However, this happiness was soon taken over by worry as I did not have any helping hand except for my old mother-in-law.  My husband too had to return to his work abroad.  When they were infants, I had no sleep day and night.  They used to get up together, cry together and do everything together.  It was a common sight to see me sitting up all night trying to put them to sleep, one on my lap and one on my shoulder.   When they started going to school, they began to draw a lot of attention.  Most people stopped by and admired them and I felt very proud that there were mine.  Moreover they both had loving natures and I felt each and every trouble I took to bring them up was worth it.  In studies, sometimes they get the same marks in some subjects.  When they were much younger, it was difficult to make them study as they would always play with each other. Today, they?re both in college and whenever I look at them I feel so proud and happy.  I just hope they don?t get married to twin sisters.  I don?t think I could cope with the stress of having twin daughters-in-law. 

Marie Albuquerque (Sohan & Sonali) ? My husband Archie & I welcomed with joy and gratitude to God when the doctor (Dr. R. S. Mahale in Mangalore) confirmed my pregnancy after a period of 4 years.  Blessed with 2 sons already, we felt the need of a daughter to make our family complete.  So, we prayed fervently for this prayer.  We came to know that I was carrying twins only in the 7th month through an x-ray film, as ultra sound facility was not available back then in Mangalore.  The twins were born prematurely (7 months & one week) at Vijaya Clinic, Kadri and were placed in an incubator fighting, for survival with antenatal jaundice.  Sohan & Sonali were the second set of twins in the family.  We chose their names as they both symbolized ‘Gold’.  The twins were brought up for one year by my father-in-law & mother-in-law.  Being fraternal twins, there was never a problem of identification.  It was always a joy to dress them up.  As they grew, they were comparatively healthy babies.  They only attended nursery school together, following which they went to separate boys and girls schools in Mangalore.  Both had different set of friends and were very attached to each other.  They shared numerous secrets ? and continue to do even now ? among themselves. 

Some interesting facts about twins (Source: Internet)

Identical twins – come from a single egg that has been fertilized by one sperm (monozygotic). The fertilized egg splits into two or more embryos during the first stage of development.  These twins have the same DNA and therefore they are physically identical and must be of the same blood group and sex.

Fraternal twins – which do not look exactly alike – develop when separate eggs are fertilized by separate sperm (dizygotic).  They develop separately in different amnios and different placentas, sometimes in the same placenta but the amnios is always different. They have different DNA so they can be of different sexes and can have different blood groups.  Having Fraternal twins is like having 2 pregnancies at once. They are more common and occur in 70% of twins.  These twins are commonly also called “false twins” as from a genetic point of view they are like brothers or sisters, only they are born at the same time.

So the term ?twins? just indicates two children born together.  A twin birth occurs every 100 normal births.  In all cases of twins, there is a genetic predisposition, that is, in some families twin births are particularly frequent.

Some Famous Twins

Athlete/Sports person  Mario and Aldo Andretti (auto racer), Cricketer Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh, Ronde and Tiki Barber (football), Jose and Ozzie Canseco (baseball), Horace and Harvey Grant (basketball), Tim and Tom Guliksen (tennis pros)

Musicians  Johann Christoph and Johann Bach (18th century classical), Maurice and Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees), Jennifer and Heather Kinley (country), Liberace (twin died at birth), Alanis Morresette (progressive) Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (rock), Elvis Presley (twin died at birth)

Actors/Actresses  Karen Black, Montgomery Clift, Deidre Hall, Linda Hamilton, Jill Hennessy, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Alexandra Paul, Ed Sullivan, Billy Dee Williams

Some Famous Parents of Twins

Madeleine Albright (former U.S. Secretary of State), Muhammad Ali (boxer), Ed Asner (actor)
Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini (actress and director), George W. Bush (U.S. President), Bing Crosby (singer/actor), Robert DeNiro (actor) Mia Farrow and Andre Previn (actress and musician), Donald Sutherland (actor), Nikki Taylor (model), Margaret Thatcher (former Prime Minister of England), Mel Gibson (actor), King Hussein (former King of Jordan), Ivan Lendl (tennis pro), Ricky Nelson (musician), Pel? (soccer superstar), Nelson Rockefeller (former U.S. Vice President), Jane Seymour (actress), Cybill Sheperd (actress), William Shakespeare (playwright/poet), James Stewart (actor), Denzel Washington (actor).
Longest Interval Between Twins

Mrs. Peggy Lynn gave birth to Hanna on November 11 1995 and twin Eric on Feb 2 1996, 84 days later, the longest interval between twins. The previous record was held by Mrs. Danny Berg of Italy, who had Diana on December 23 1987 and her twin Monica on January 30 1988, 38 days later.

AND apart from all of this, twins and their parents also have to put up with some really dumb questions people ask them. If the parents could have had a dollar for every time they were asked if the twins were identical, they would be rich. 

So, here are the dumb questions:

Do you ever get yourselves mixed up? Are you the same age? Are you boy/girl twins identical?
Can your parents tell you apart? Do you ever switch places? How do you know which one you are?
Do you have the same parents? Which one is smarter? Were you born on the same day?
How did your parents know you were Twins?

And on that lighthearted note, Mangalorean.Com thanks Mrs. Dorothy Rego, Mrs. Maureen Pinto, Mrs. Marie Albuquerque and our lively twins – Gail & Gwayne, Lloyd & Lester, Sohan & Sonali for their valuable input and cooperation.

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Author: Shaly Pereira- Oman

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