Prologue

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"I know the truth will break your heart. But I must tell you this. You are not my twin" said Vindhya, sitting beside Niharika, who rolled her eyes at her nine-year-old twin.

"I'll tell you exactly how you came into existence. Mom and dad liked me so much when I was born, that they wanted another child who would look just like me. So, they brought a monkey home and performed some experiments on it. It transformed into a human being, one fine day. That monkey was you." Vindhya concluded her story.

"Will you stop it, Vinnu? They are sending us to the city. Doesn't that bother you?" asked Niharika, irritably.

"Why? We will get to go to multiplexes every week" said Vindhya.

Niharika shut her eyes. She did everything she could do, to stop her father from sending them away. But neither her father, nor her grandmother, listened to her plea. She felt tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Stop crying. You already look so bad. Crying makes you look worse." Vindhya tried to console her.

Before Niharika could respond, their grandmother summoned them to her room. Their father was standing in a corner.

"Grandma, please. I don't want to go." Niharika clung to her, crying. 

Vindhya looked at her father, who had been avoiding them since the past few weeks. She couldn't control anymore. She embraced her father. "Dad, please don't let us go. I want to stay with you. I love you." She was careful not to cause any damage to his prosthetic leg.

"Vinnu, Niha, listen to me. I'm doing this for your own good. You will get to study in the city. In better schools with better options. I'll come and meet you whenever I get time." He said without meeting their eyes. He walked out of the room before they could speak further. The twins accepted defeat. 

"Now look at me" said their grandmother, Sharada. They immediately turned towards her. "Vinnu, don't irritate your sister. Don't do anything stupid. Don't go out after nightfall. I don't want to hear more than one complaint per month about your behavior. Do you understand?" She asked her younger grandchild, who nodded.

She turned towards Niharika and spoke with a softened expression. "Be careful, child. Don't get scared. Nithya aunty is a good lady. She will take care of everything. Including your studies."

"Grandma, do I have to study with her?" asked Vindhya.

"Yes. You will have to. You have to score more than eighty percent in all your exams. Or else..."

"What will you do?" asked Niharika.

"Our family will disown kids who don't study well" said Sharada.

Niharika was slightly alarmed. "Don't worry. Grandma failed matriculation twice. But her father didn't disown her." Vindhya whispered in her ear. The twins giggled.

"Why are you giggling? Go, check whether you packed everything." Sharada ordered them. Niharika embraced her before leaving.

Vindhya stayed back. "Grandma, I would like to meet mom, before leaving. Where is she? Please take me to her. Please."

Sharada sighed. She cupped the child's face. "Vinnu. You have to understand. Your mother is gone. She will never return. You have to live without her."

Vindhya refused to believe her grandmother. She was still in denial. Sharada came forward to embrace her. She didn't let her. She threw a look full of anger towards her grandmother, before storming away.

She reached her room and started getting ready, unaware that she would be returning only after a decade and half.

---***---

Like I promised, I have restarted Vindhya and Niharika's story. Except the baby exchange part everything else remains the same.

Now, let me introduce the characters and quote them.

Vindhya: A 24-year-old kind, naughty and independent girl. Niharika's twin. Worships her father and despises her grandmother. Shares a special bond with foster mother. Dreams about bringing her father to her city and make him stay with her.

"Accept what I cannot change? I don't think so. I change what I cannot accept."

Niharika: Vindhya's non-identical twin. A good-natured, calm girl of simple taste. Loves her twin more than anyone else in the world. Loved by everyone for her polite nature. Doesn't usually share her feelings with anyone.

"You need to be strong and calm and patient. Patient above all."

Sharada: Vindhya's grandmother. An authoritative, no-nonsense kind of woman. Respected by everyone. Loves her grandchildren dearly. Always tries to control their lives. Over-protective of her family.

"I like the balance between power and respect. Me wielding power, and others respecting me."

Varun: Father of Vindhya and Niharika. An ex-serviceman, who lost his right leg in war. Considers himself unworthy of being their father. Distances himself from them.

"I'd have gladly taken a bullet for you, even after knowing that you are behind the trigger."

Nithya: Vindhya and Niharika's foster mother. Loves them like her own children. 

"You mean the world to me. You both complete me."

Keerthi: Vindhya's cousin. Daughter of Varun's younger brother. A chirpy and bubbly girl, who considers Vindhya to be her role model, though she never admits it. 

"If I have a minute to live, I'd spend the first 30 seconds to prank you and next 30 seconds to laugh at you."

Sudeep: Keerthi's twin brother. Vindhya's best friend. The wisest, despite being the youngest in the family. Interested in musical instruments. Aims to be the guitarist in his college band.

"Lost my identity in this family full of twins. Someone help me create a new one."

Riddhi: Daughter of Varun's younger sister. Respects Niharika for her calm and composed demeanor. Always at loggerheads with Vindhya. 

"Even if I disregard your five hundred and twenty eight flaws, you can never be my friend."

Parth: Niharika's sweet and polite fiance. Son of Varun's ex-neighbour and brother-in-arms.  Forever loyal to Niharika. Loves her with all his heart. Always tries to make her smile. Biggest foodie in the family.

"What else can I ask for, when I have a wife like you? By the way, do you happen to have any French fries?"

Aditya: Parth's younger cousin. A hardworking, intelligent and brave man with great sense of humour. Stays at Vindhya's house due to renovation work at his house. A part time musician. Has a secret crush on Vindhya and ever ready to help her reconnect with her family. 

"Does everyone from your city have Biryani for breakfast?"

---***---

How are you all? Did you miss me? I hope you did.

Like I promised, I have restarted this story. I had entire story line ready. Was just feeling lazy to type. Not anymore. 

I am introducing a new tradition for this book:

I'll take the screenshot of best comment for each chapter and post it in the next chapter. 

Don't forget to vote and comment. Thank you.

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