Vani and Veena, the conjoined twins who had been abandoned by their parents at the age of three, celebrated their 16th birthday in Hyderabad. The special day this year was different from their earlier birthdays: they no longer entertained any hopes of surgical separation. Instead, they vowed to spend the rest of their lives happily together.

The twins, born on October 16, 2002, were abandoned by their parents, both daily wage labourers, at Hyderabad’s Niloufer Maternity Hospital in 2005. They grew up at the hospital on government aid. Though three medical teams had given the teens hopes of surgical separation, the plans were shelved as the surgeries posed a risk to their lives.
In June 2017, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, concluded that the surgery could end up crippling the twins. In 2017, the children were shifted to a children’s home under Telangana’s Women and Child Welfare Department.

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It was at the children’s home that the twins cut a cake and celebrated with 58 other girls who share the institution with them. Vani and Veena, didn’t want to dwell much on their medical condition. Speaking to The Hindu, the twins said they looked forward to finishing their Class X board examinations in two years. Vani, who likes English literature, said, “I want to be a children’s counsellor.” Veena, on the other hand, wants to be a scientist.

The twins, therefore, were hopeful that the government would help them identify and prepare for a vocation that would allow them to “help people.” In the State’s home, the twins sleep on an L-shaped bed. They are visited by their parents a few times a year, and live in the company of three female domestic workers and a tutor.

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Their mother Naga and father M. Murali visited them on their birthday.Mr. Murali, who makes ₹150 a day as a labourer in Telangana’s Mahbubabad district, requested the government to offer the twins’ mother a job at the children’s home. The parents, who have two other teenaged girl children, said they could move to Hyderabad with government support.

As for Vani and Veena, their immediate demand to the government was to have “their room painted in yellow and sky blue.” They were “tired of seeing the plain white walls of government hospitals and rescue homes.” #KhabarLive