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"We love ice-cream, adore Salman Khan"

Special Correspondent


CHENNAI: The 10-year-old conjoined twins, Sabah and Farah Shakeel, never went to school but learnt to read and write at home.

"We could not go to school," they replied matter-of-factly in Hindi over a videoconference, to a question from Dr. K. Ganapathy, neurosurgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.

The children were obviously not used to a videoconference and strained to gauge the direction from which the Hindi questions emanated. Once they were told by the team at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, that the questions reached them from distant Chennai, the girls seemed to relax: they said they loved Hindi cinema and that both adored Salman Khan.

"We like him. He acts well," Sabah said. The latest movie they had watched was `Mujse Shaadi Karogi.'

Both Sabah and Farah are fond of ice creams — the `cupwala' variety — and do not miss out on an opportunity to get their share.

They have no favourites from among vanilla, chocolate or strawberry — they are just happy as long as it is cup ice.

They said they were aware of the likely operation and the fact they have to undergo a battery of tests before that.

Dr. Ganapathy, who heads the Apollo Telemedicine Network Foundation, said the Delhi branch of the hospital had advanced equipment, including a three tesla MRI and a 64-slice CT.

The images obtained from the CT, the MRI and angiogram would be superimposed to study potential problem areas.

The Apollo Hospitals chairman, Pratap C. Reddy, speaking from Hyderabad, said the surgery pointed to the strengthening relationship between the hospital and the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, United States.

In a surgery of this nature, it was very difficult to say what would go wrong and the hospital had a huge team of specialists looking into all possible angles.

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