Thursday, February 07, 2008
On being twins
Well, it has been quite a while since I posted. So I thought that I should share with you my experience on being twins ! Actually, I had written an article in my college magazine echoing this sentiment...and hence, I'm going to reproduce it here verbatim.
The woman in the pink sari has been staring at us for some time now. She approaches us, albeit hesitantly, and asks, "Are you both sisters?"
I smile and say (for the nth time), "Actually, we are twins".
"Aaah ! I guessed as much. Both of you look the same!", the lady replies. We smile back (as always).
Believe me, this is not an isolated incident. We've had strangers strike up conversations with us at supermarkets, in the bus, at hopitals and even on the roads! Yes....because we happen to be twins. Many a time, it's subtly acknowledged. When people notice we are similar, their eyes dart like tennis balls on court. Their perplexed expression gives way to a smug look as they 'deduce' the fact that we are twins.
In other words, life is 'different' being twins. For one, you get noticed instantly; and you are not forgotten easily either. Now, I still haven't figured out whether it's advantageous or not, because attracting unnecessary attention isn't exactly my cup of tea. We've had our share of amusing incidents as well. For instance, I attend a viva voce, and my twin later steps in to attend hers. And the teacher unwittingly asks, "Didn't you just attend the viva? Why are you back?". Or like the other time a Sir came to class, looked at both of us and said, " You both seem to be related", at which the whole class broke out into laughter.
When we were small, we used to be literally 'mirror-images', that is, the same dress, hairstyle, accessories and so on. I guess it was quite a 'cute' sight then. Now we consciously avoid wearing the same kind of outfit (would look quite strange now, don't you think ?)
As much fun as it may seem, there are some 'not-so-nice' things about being twins. If I were to single out the most prominent disadvantage, it would be being considered 'substitutes'. We are not the same; we are just similar. This fine difference is often neglected. Teachers jumbling up our marks at school is ample proof of their non-chalance when it comes to our 'identity' ! Thankfully, here our names are not in alphabetic order and hence no confusion arises. Another of our constant worries is the 'double' expenditure we simultaneously incur. But then, it's inevitable, I guess.
Even though I may crib about such minor inconveniences, the fact remains that it couldn't get better. Being the same age, having the same friends and doing common things (so far) have made us almost ' inseparable'.
Let me end with a few 'interesting' questions we've answered in the past two decades of being twins.
Why 'interesting' ?? Sample these :-
* Question to me: "What's your date of birth?"
And then to my sis: "And yours?"
(Hhhmmm...and that too inspite of being told we're TWINS!)
* Old wine...new bottle:
To me: "Which class are you studying in?"
To my sis: "And you ?"
( Okay.....why ? Did you expect one of us to fail ?)
* "Can your parents distinguish between you both?"
(Yes they can...it's amazing, isn't it ?!)
* "Will you marry twins?"
And by the way, a friend of ours even went to the extent of imagining us marrying twins and having twins of our own.....leading to confusion among the four kids ; not to mention,the husbands!
* Oh ! You've rhyming names !
(Yes.....it helps to further confuse people!)
* On seeing us, people say either of the two:
"You look just the same" OR " You can't be twins, you both look different!"
For the record, we are FRATERNAL twins; not identical twins.
* "Do you both fight/quarrel ?"
(Yes we do...like any othe pair of sisters.....or are we not 'supposed' to ?)
So long folks !
Well, at this juncture, let me add another angle to this 'twin' business. We've always stayed together since birth. I can't think of an extended period of separation we've undergone. But things changed when, for our RAWE programme, we were 'split'. The class was divided into two batches and we were to intern at separate research stations. And we were (intentionally) put in two separate batches. It was for the first time that we were going to be separated for weeks. Initially, I found it difficult....let's say, 1-2 days. I got over it pretty soon. My sis, though, took some more days to adjust. That's when I realised another flip side to being twins. When you are close to your twin, you will not think of making another 'close' friend (atleast for me). It holds you from socialising, as you tend to be real close with your twin and you know that nobody else is going to be as close.
Often, friends told us that we (my sis and me) stay away and that we are happy with ourselves. It hit me the most during the weeks of separation. I realised that it's necessary to be apart from your twin to try and know others better....most importantly, to discover yourself.
For once, I was alone... I was an individual.
Infact, I got to realise my individuality when I was alone. And I realised that others also got to know me better. The fact that we are together deterred others also from knowing us individually. In short, the whole incident was an eye-opener.
Now, we again stand at another milestone of our lives. We're done with our graduation (yes, the same course, same college..and in the same class!).
Twenty-two years of togetherness....quite a lot, isn't it ? There have been times when we fight like crazy and we have had terrible verbal jousts...so much so that if somebody were to hear our tirades against each other, they would think that we were enemies !!! But through all that (and more) we've stayed together. Let's just say we 'agree to disagree' at times !
But let me say this much, having a twin is great....infact I came across this statement said by another twin in the TWINS community in orkut. She said, "I think the others are lonely because they have no twins".
I'll drink to that !
Thought for the day: "Failing to plan is planning to fail".