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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

India's Mysterious Twin Village

India's Mysterious Twin Village

Two hours from the nearest airport, at the end of a stomach-churning curving road, is a paradise of palm trees, purple houses and what is believed to be the world's highest concentration of twins.
In this tiny village of about 2,000 families, more than 300 have sets of twins. And in the case of many families, multiple sets of twins. There are about 45 twins per 1,000 births here, which is nearly six times the national average.

Mohammed Ali Pottayi's family has seven boys ranging in age from 18 to 4, including two sets of twins aged 12 and 4.

Pottayi and his wife, Suhara, feel fortunate for their unique family.

"Very happy," said the husband. "Two things you're getting in one."

His wife feels the same.

"I was very happy," she said.

Neither one was surprised by the multiple twin births, which is easy to understand considering that as we're speaking in their driveway filled with grass-eating goats, neighboring 12-year-old boy and girl twins stop by.
The town's unofficial motto goes something like this: If you don't have kids, if you are having fertility trouble, come to our town and stay a while because you will leave with many kids.

Down another twisting road, dotted with men wearing traditional skirts called dhotis, are the newest additions to the village: twin girls Afna and Afra Kozapavetit, who are 65 days old.

Like the Pottayis, the Kozapavetit family of eight is very enthusiastic.

"I'm happy that I have twins," said mother Asiya, who admits that twins are more tiring than singletons. Asiya gave birth to twin girls Lubana and Lubaba seven years ago.

"I didn't feel anything surprising," said father Yusuf, an auto rickshaw driver. "In Kodinhi, this is not a rare phenomenon so it's expected."

The town's oldest living twins are 65-year-old sisters Fatima Kutty and Kuhni Pathutty. They say they don't remember any other twins when they were growing up. They also added that they are very happy to be twins.

Dr. Krishnan Sribiju has been studying the village of twins for two years. The dermatologist works in a nearby hospital and is currently studying for his master's degree in public health. In his free time, he is trying to unravel the medical mystery.

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