“Me thinks you are my glass, and not my brother:
I see by you I am a sweet-faced youth."
– The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Remember the sitcom, Friends? Of course you do. Remember the time how panicked Chandler and Monica became when they discovered that they were going to adopt twins? "We only ordered one!" Monica reminded. And Chandler, not being able to recover from the news, pulled Monica on a side and suggested to give one away. "We can give each of them half a medallion, and then years later they'll find each other, and be reunited," he had proposed. "I mean that's a great day for everybody!"
Monica and Chandler were 'not ready to have two babies'.
That's perhaps how some parents react when they first find out that they have conceived twins. But as time goes by, the joy twins bring can never be overrated. As a saying goes, "God touched our hearts so deep inside, our special blessing multiplied."
But twins were not always seen in such positive spirit in olden times, with many superstitions surrounding them. In some cultures, twins were considered a bad luck, and one from the pair would be drowned. Twins were believed by many people to be the work of spirits!
On the other hand, tales of twins are dotted in mythologies from different parts of the world, comprising of deities and divine powers.
While not all twins are gods and goddesses, most of them do claim to have a special power - that one can feel each other's pain or experience even though they are miles apart. Take the example of Imtiaz and Ijaz Ahmed from Chittagong. Till the age of 26, they were inseparable. However, due to different interests, one went abroad for a postgraduate degree while another stayed back and pursued a different career. However, the bond between them remained strong. "One fine morning, I started feeling pain in my leg, but couldn't figure out why. Later that day, my brother called me and said that he had been in a car accident and had hurt his knee badly," Ijaz says.
Indeed, there are countless such cases and anecdotes about twins experiencing each others' pains or sensations. There's lack of solid scientific proof, but numerous testimonials and studies continue to amuse people.
And twins can indeed baffle and confuse us, particularly when they are wearing the same dresses! Identifying which one is which can be a difficult job indeed. "When we used to work in the same office, strangers often came up to me for a handshake, or even a quick chat when in the elevator," Ijaz says about people continuously confusing them for one another. "Sometimes, I just ignored and nod along and pretend to be my brother!"
But let's not forget that twins are two different human beings, and even identical twins have different fingerprints. "Friends and families can easily tell us apart," Ijaz concluded. "Although we are apparently identical, we have a lot of differences and lead very separate lives."
Nevertheless, from the ancient world to this day, and from mythology to science, twins continue to be a subject of wonder.