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Identical twins set to serve different army units

At the IMA’s passing-out ceremony, the brothers had several tales to share about how their similar features would lead to confusing, and sometimes, comical situations.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2019 08:30 IST
Kalyan Das
Kalyan Das
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
IMA cadets,twin brothers,identical twins
(L-R)Twin Brothers Abhinav Pathak (left) and Parinav Pathak during passing out parade at IMA in Dehradun on Saturday June 08, 2019. (Photo by Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT)

For a major part of the last 22 years of their lives, identical twins Abhinav Pathak and Parinav Pathak have been inseparable. Born a few minutes apart, they studied in the same school in Amritsar, went their separate ways to study engineering in colleges in Ludhiana and Jalandhar and then reunited to pursue their dreams of serving in the army at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. Now, the brothers will once again be apart as they would be posted in separate army units after graduating from the prestigious institute together, along with 457 other cadets, on Saturday.

At the IMA’s passing-out ceremony, the brothers had several tales to share about how their similar features would lead to confusing, and sometimes, comical situations.

“Many a times, the drill instructor would call me instead of Parinav and vice-versa. Also, the instructor would pass on training instructions meant for my brother to me,” said Abhinav, the older of the two.

He also recalled how the mess butler would confuse him for his brother, asking him to have his meal right after he had finished with one. “Sometimes, I would have just come out after eating my food but the butler, taking me for Parinav, would ask me: ‘Are saab khana to kha lijiye?’ (have you had your meal?). This would make me laugh.”

Parinav, too, has his mess stories to share, like how he would often sneak into his brother’s less-crowded mess without the fear of being identified. “At times, when I would see my company’s mess table crowded, I would go to my brother’s mess which had fewer cadets having food. Nobody was able to identify me,” he added with a hearty laugh. They were in different companies in the academy and had different mess.

“The only time anyone was able to tell us apart was when we would wear our (PT) uniform or through our respective company batches on the collar,” shares Abhinav, the more talkative of the two.

Abhinav will join Army Air Defence Corps and Parinav, Army Aviation Corps. “We have achieved whatever we have, together. This makes us extremely proud,” Parinav said.

As the brothers prepare themselves to stay apart for long periods at their respective postings, sharing similar sentiments at the academy were childhood friends from Karnataka, Sudarshan LM and Varun Channalli. The 21-year-olds have been inseparable for the past 11 years, sharing even the same bench at the Sainik School in Bijapur, Sudarshan’s hometown. “We both met in Class 6 and became friends. We even shared the same bench right till Class 12. After school, we prepared for National Defence Academy (NDA) together and made it here in 2015,” said Sudarshan.

Varun, who hails from Karnataka’s Raichur district, said: “Since we would sit on the same bench in school, we were equally motivated to join the army. However, now after training, we have to depart to our separate regiments.”

In all, 459 GCs (gentlemen cadets) passed out from the IMA on Saturday. The GCs included 382 Indian nationals while 77 were from friendly foreign countries. Among the Indian GCs, the maximum number was from Uttar Pradesh (72), while among the foreign GCs, maximum (45) were from Afghanistan. The parade was reviewed by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of South Western Command, Lt Gen Cherish Mathson. Addressing the GCs at IMA’s Chetwode drill square, he urged them “to be always ready to protect the nation and its constitution from the threats including insurgents and terrorists.” Later, while interacting with the media persons, who asked him about the ongoing controversy over cricketer MS Dhoni wishing to wear gloves with his army unit’s insignia, he said, “Army has nothing to do with that (the controversy). The International Cricket Council (ICC) will act as per its own rules and regulations.”

First Published: Jun 09, 2019 07:24 IST