Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Separated at birth

After 30 years, Madhuri Huger (pic, right) returned to Nepal from Switzerland to find her twin sister. With the help of this report in Kantipur, she not only found her sister but her father as well.

The father.
Tears stream down their faces. Looking at his daughter, he asks with a dry throat, "Have you married?" Wiping her tears, the woman asks, "Why did you leave us so soon after we were born?" The interpreter struggled to find the words to match translate the emotional outpourings between a father who didn't know English and the daughter who couldn't speak Nepali. "Oh God, now I can die peacefully and reach heaven" says Dhakninath Acharya, 65, (below, left) who spent half his life looking for his twin daughters.

On 31 July, the father and daughter met for the first time in three decades. Their story begins 31 years ago. At that time, the Prithbi Rajmarg had not been built and the family lived in a remote Dhorke village. "After giving birth to a son and a daughter, my wife had complications during the third delivery," recalls Dhakinath.

He rushed his wife to Bir Hospital in the capital where the doctors delivered twins but could not save his wife, Khem Kumari Acharya. "The doctors told me that the newlyborns would die without a mother's care," Acharya remembers, looking intently at his daughter. "That's why they had to keep you at the hospital. Even then I visited you everyday with milk and curd." A few months later, when he got to the hospital his daughters were missing and so was the their nurse. Someone suggested going to the orphanage Bal Mandir but the girls were not there.

Through Kantipur he found out that his girls had been taken to Bal Mandir and been adopted by two different families: Newars from Thimi and a Swiss couple. "During the inauguration of the SAARC Summit, I heard there would a children's parade so I came from the village," he tells his daughter. "With your mother's face in my mind, I hoped to find you in the crowd but of course you weren't there."

...and the sister
Kantipur, 12 August

Separated at birth, the twins were merely curious about each other till they finally met in person. When they did meet there was no melodramatic tears and hugs: just a direct gaze and a smile, almost of recognition. Breaking the silence, the elder sister from Switzerland asked, "Did you go through a rough time?" The younger twin shook her head and replied that her foster parents brought her up with love and care.

Born to Dhakni Nath Acharya, Ganga and Jamuna (not real names) were brought up in two different worlds-one in the West and other in Nepal. Jamuna grew up in a middle class family and is a working woman. She grew up as a popular Newari girl who was well educated. She read the news about the meeting between her real father and her twin sister when she was visiting her foster parents. She spoke about it to her widowed foster mother, who didn't take the news well, but her foster father's best friend helped get all information regarding her adoption. On 26 July, her foster mother finally revealed that she had been adopted through the help of a nurse working at Bir Hospital. The story matched that of Ganga, her Swiss twin sister.

Twelve days after the first story made the news, the twins met each other for the first time since they were babies. Jamuna doesn't want her in-laws to find out about these developments in her life. "A new relationship has begun, but this should not affect my ties with my foster family," she explains.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)