|By Sanjay Pandey|
Ganga and Jamuna Mondal, professionally known as the ‘Spider Sisters’, have been working at travelling circuses since infancy.
“We started working in circus when we were just three months old. Our father would take us to circuses across the county. So we practically started earning as infants,”
narrated Ganga, the talkative one among the sisters while Jamuna clasped her in agreement.
As they reached adulthood, the sisters developed a natural liking for men. But no one would pay attention to them because of their physical appearance. Five years ago, one Gangadhar Mandal proposed to marry the sisters. But the proposal was turned down by their family as the man was a Hindu.
“Religion was not the actual problem for my family. My brothers did not want to give away the lone miltching cow (read earning member) away just like that. They cared little about my future and thought it was best in their interest if we remained single all our lives,”
narrated Jamuna as Ganga consoled and wiped tears percolating down the cheeks of her sister.
“We would go to the circus, perform and listen to heart-piercing comments from patrons. Someone would pinch me hard to check whether I was real. Someone would ask whether we are married and then someone from the crowd would answer: ‘Who would marry these spider women?’
Undeterred by the comments, we would continue showcasing our deformity and entertaining people, turning a blind eye to the humiliation we were constantly being subjected to. We were helpless. We had to earn a living for a family full of able-bodied men and women.”
Five years elapsed. And one fine day, they met Jaismuddin Ahmad, a sound-engineer with a circus and the trio were struck by cupid’s arrow.
Little did the sisters know that they would find the love of their life at the very circus where they were humiliated day in and day out!
It was ‘love at first sight’.
Jasimuddin, a 36-year-old part-time sound engineer, says he loves them straight from the heart.
“We have been very happy since he came into our lives. We don’t want to suffer anymore. We really hope to spend the rest of our lives with him,”
says Jamuna as her 46-year-old twin sister facepalms herself.
‘Sometimes we listen to music and sit up talking late into the night,’
says Ahmad who makes sure he has dinner with them everyday.
“Jamuna gets angry with the drop of a hat. If I don’t spend time with them one single night, she would stop talking to me. But my Ganga is a good girl,”
said Ahmad, cosying up to the shy sister.
When in a fun mood, the sisters call him Mr. India, likening him with mustached-actor Anil Kapoor of the early 1990s Bollywood film.
Ahmad has a day-job at a local school and he drives the sisters to the circus in the evenings. Like most love stories in rural India, however, family plays villain here, too.
Five years ago, Ganga-Jamuna’s family turned down Gangadhar Mandal’s proposal as it came from a Hindu man. But this time there is no “different religion angle” in play. Yet, her brothers are up in arms against their relationship with Ahmad.
But the sisters are determined not to allow the only hope of their life to fade away just like that.
Hence they have left their parental house in Bashirhaat and moved with Ahmad to his home in Nalhati.
Ahmad’s family has been very receptive about his relationship with the sisters.
His mother Alia Biwi says,
“They are like my daughters. I am proud of my son that he has held the hapless women’s hands at a crucial juncture of their life.”
Though Ahmad does not commit to marry the sisters, he promises to take care of all their needs till his death. But the sisters are optimistic that their man would change his mind about marriage one day.
“We are hopeful that today or tomorrow he will marry us and all three of us would lead a happy conjugal life,”
For now the twins are enjoying the companionship and love they had missed out on for so many years.