A built in best friend

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Photo by used with permission of Rohan Vuppala

Right to left: Sohan Vuppala, Rohan Vuppala “Sometimes when we ask people how they tell us apart they [say], ‘I’m not telling you because then you’ll change it, and then I won’t know how to tell you guys apart,'” Rohan said.

Sophia Babcock, Staff Writer

A lot of people can say they have siblings but not everyone can say they have a twin. There are 33 twin births per 1,000 births in the United States, and 9-12% of the 33 sets of twins are identical, according to healthline.com

“I think my favorite thing is when we meet people for the first time and they don’t know that Sohan is a twin, or that I am a twin. You can just play with it a little bit,” Rohan said. “Like if they’re passing in the hallway, you can just pretend you’re your twin and stuff like that.”

Sohan and Rohan Vuppala, sophomores, are identical twins. Sometimes people mistake them for the other, or are not aware the Vuppalas are twins upon meeting them individually, and the twins just go along with it for fun. 

But Sohan says  there are other defining features that can help people tell the difference between him and his twin.

“When you first meet us [you can] probably [tell us apart by our] glasses and shoes because that’s the most easiest [difference], but there is other stuff like our hairstyles. Everyone has their own way of telling us apart,” Sohan said. “One person thought that my left eyebrow is different from Rohan’s. There are a lot of these small differences, but it’s whatever works for [people].’’

Sohan and Rohan tried taking advantage of their similar looks, and attempted switching places in middle school, but failed according to Sohan. The Vuppalas switched seats during one of their classes, but were caught right away by their peers and it was “pathetic,” Sohan recalled. As of now Rohan says they are keeping their pranks “under the wraps.”

“As for the future, we probably shouldn’t tell you if we are because then you would [be on the lookout], [so you will] just have to find out,” Sohan said.

The twins have multiple opportunities to switch places as they are both involved in a lot of the same clubs, activities, and classes. This tends to spark some competition between the two, according to both Sohan and Rohan.

“We sometimes get a bit frustrated if one person is doing better than the other, but [at the same time] that just pushes us to try even harder at that activity,” Rohan said. “I wouldn’t say it’s like a negative [thing], but it still can get a little annoying.”

“Like with activities and stuff we will be like ‘okay, great job. I didn’t really want that,’” Sohan added sarcastically. “But at the same time it’s like ‘man, I wish I could do better than him.’ So there is a lot of that competitive drive behind us, which is also really fun [at the same time].”

Even though they are competitive, they enjoy having each other’s company at the end of the day, according to both Sohan and Rohan. They spend a lot of time together playing video games, watching TV, and other activities. For birthdays, they have one party because they run in the same friend group. 

“We just usually have the same birthday. It’s more convenient because we’re just going to invite the same people,” Sohan said.

The twins “don’t get bothered by it because it just seemed too much of a hassle to have to separate birthday parties,” Rohan explained. They enjoy celebrating together with their close friends, according to the twins. 

Ryan Donnan, sophomore and twins’ friend, has known the Vuppalas since third grade. At first he did not really have a strategy to tell the two apart, he said, and “guessed every time.” Since then, Donnan says he has gotten the hang of telling them apart mostly through their voices. He is used to having twins as friends because his sisters are twins, according to Donnan.

“[Being friends with twins] is kind of what you would expect. You can’t hang with one without the other, and they fight a little,” Donnan said. “I think they do have some form of twin telepathy. They often say things at the same time in the same pitch and length.”

Sohan and Rohan do not believe they have twin telepathy although “I wish we had twin telepathy,” Sohan said jokingly. “Cheating on tests would be so much easier.”

“We do think a lot similarly and [there have been a] lot of occasions [where we] respond at the same time, or like sometimes we will automatically say the same thing,” Sohan said.

As similar as they are, the Vuppala twins have quite a few differences. They “have different interests, for example, career wise and [other small details],” Rohan said. “[Those things] should still be accounted for.” Rohan wants to go into business, and Sohan would like to do something tech and business related. 

“Usually [preferences of] food and stuff like that [we tend to differ]. And I can’t really think of stuff off the top of my head, but we have different personalities. We have a lot of the same interests, no doubt, but we have a lot of differences [as well],” Sohan further explained.

I agree with that personality thing. A lot of people pick up on that, and they can tell that I’m (Rohan) a little bit more passionate, [and Sohan is a] little bit more level headed,” Rohan added.

Aside from their differences and competitive spirit, being twins “[is] more interesting than I feel not having a twin would be,” Rohan said.

“[At the end of the day] it’s always nice to have a person you’re really close to,” Sohan said. “It’s like a built in best friend.”