It was a phenomenon that had gone unnoticed for several years, even by the residents. But now a village in Kerala with over 200 twins and a few more on the way is in the limelight.
"None of us was aware of this phenomenon and now many have started thinking of this. There is also a new association for these twins," said Kunju Marikar, president of the Nannambra panchayat (village council) under which comes Kodinhi village that boasts of the record.
Of the 20 wards that fall under the council, Kodinhi has seven wards, each having a population of around 2,000.
"The surprising thing is that this phenomenon does not prevail in other wards of the panchayat," Marikar added.
Following the attention to the village, Pullani Bhaskaran, 51, the father of a pair of twin boys aged 16, formed the Twins and Kins Association (TAKA), exclusively for the parents and the twins.
"We have recently formed an 11-member executive committee and have begun registration of twins. So far we have zeroed in on 230 pairs of twins and we are trying to rope in all the twins irrespective of their age. We feel the number could swell to more than 300 pairs," said Bhaskaran, a contractor.
According to the information collected by TAKA, the 85-year-old Mohammed Haji is the oldest living twin, with his sibling having died a few years ago. The oldest living twins are 65-year-old Pathukutty and Kunji Pathukutty.
The latest pair (both boys) were delivered May 6 by Ramla, 24. TAKA's inquiries have revealed a few more are on the way.
Yusuf, an autorickshaw driver, has three pairs - all girls. His wife delivered the first pair seven years ago and the third pair about three months ago.
"We are happy and my wife and my two tiny girls are hale and hearty," said a pleased Yusuf.
A team consisting of G R Chandak from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and Kaumudi Godbole, of the Centre for Human Growth and Development, Pune, met about a dozen pairs of twins of the village last November and examined their food habits and other factors.
However, the villagers say they have not heard from the team since then.
"We have not heard from them. Now what we are doing is to document the entire details of all the twins. Our preliminary findings show that among the twins, girls lead the pack. The maximum number of twins is in the age group of 5 to 15. Shortly we will come out with all the details," said Bhaskaran.