Two joint lives and a wish to tie a rakhi on Salman’s wrist

August 7th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

By Imran Khan
Patna, Aug 7 (IANS) Thirteen-year-old conjoined twins Saba and Farah have stopped eating so that their wish to tie rakhi (a ceremonial thread) on Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s wrist is fulfilled. Salman Khan is the favourite hero of Saba and Farah, who had met him once in Mumbai three years ago on his invitation.

“We love Salman like a brother. We sleep and breathe with Salman’s image in our minds. He is in our soul. We have decided to tie rakhi to Salman this year. We are without food and water,” said Saba and Farah with smiles on their faces.

The poor parents of Saba and Farah are finding it difficult to fulfil their wish. But the Siamese twins, who are identical twins with bodies joined together, told them that they would not touch food until they meet Salman Khan to celebrate this year’s festival of `Raksha Bandhan’.

The festival is traditionally celebrated in the month of `Savan’ with the sister tying a rakhi on her brother’s wrist to express her love for him and the brother promising to protect her for life.

“We are poor people. How can I approach Salman Khan, who is a big star, to request him to share a few moments with my daughters,” asked Shakeel Ahmad, father of Saba and Farah.

“Saba and Farah are restless to meet Salman. They hardly miss ‘Dus Ka Dum’ which is hosted by Salman and want to participate in the programme. But they have no knowledge that it is not easy at all,” said the twin’s elder brother.

“The girls are eagerly looking forward to welcome Salman Khan at their residence here. They strongly feel that Salman Khan will visit them one day,” said Rubina Khatoon, their mother.

Khatoon said that Saba and Farah are not keeping well “as they have stopped taking food and told us that they will not touch food until they meet Salman”.

Saba and Farah, who are joined at the head and neck, have spent their lives side by side, but have never been able to look each other directly in the eye.

Ahmad recalled that a few years ago, there was a ray of hope for his daughters when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then crown prince of Abu Dhabi, decided to help the twins after seeing their photograph in an Indian newspaper. He announced he would bear the entire medical expenses of the operation to separate the conjoined twins.

“But after some move at Delhi’s Apollo hospital, everything was forgotten. We are left with only a promise. I fail to understand what happened to the offer for help. We are still waiting for surgery,” he said at the small roadside eatery he runs near Bakri Bazar here.

In 2005, after the Abu Dhabi crown prince offered to bear the estimated cost of $1 million for the operation, the twins were examined at Apollo Hospital. American neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson travelled to New Delhi to study them. The US-based Johns Hopkins Children Centre expert agreed to perform the risky operation assisted by Indian doctors.

Carson had said then that though the surgery was risky and there were chances of only one girl surviving, a surgery done early would have led to better results.

Although the twins have distinct brains and are neurologically and psychologically normal, only one of them has kidneys.

But the delay in surgery has affected their health condition. The two sisters are getting weaker by the day. They have been suffering from health problems - and getting weaker, said Shakeel.

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