Genetics and Us

I come from a scientific background, with a strong Genetics education. So, if I am to tell you a bit about my family, what better way to start than to introduce the two people whose gene pool I’ve dug into to make me what I am; My parents!

Genetics and Us - Roshni

If you have ever believed in the phrase “opposites attract”, then you could give my parents as a glowing example! My dad is one of those quiet, intense types. Speaks little, very down-to-earth, modest to the point of undermining himself; everybody loves him for his sincerity and honesty. My mom is very artistic, very fiery, and very emotional; and coming from a business family background, she also has a business temperament.

My mom and dad have now been together for 50 years and of course, fight all the time!! There is no denying that they are still madly in love with each other, but, as exemplified in the Chinese philosophy of yin and yangbeing two opposing but complementary forces which exists in every object in the universe, he is the yin for her yang!!

I am a mixed bag of my parents’ traits! It is my father in me who grits his teeth when my mother becomes emotional and cranky with me. It is my mother in me who stamps her foot when my dad gives me his famous discipline speeches.

Since I have both yin and yang in me, I decided to find the counter yang and yin. I won’t say much about the success of that since we’ve been married only 10 years. All I can say is that the hubs has the business temperament and the enthusiasm of my mother and the awful, awful obsessive, methodical attitude of my dad!!! So, we fight all the time!!

Okay, so the respective yins and yangs met and it looks like they totally cancelled out each other since our son, Big A, has a mind totally of his own, which we had no way of controlling or understanding when he first started exerting his personality at the tender age of one. Well, actually to me, it’s simple; whenever he displays his temper and stubbornness, he’s behaving just like hubs, and whenever he comes to me with an armful of books asking me to read to him, he’s my son! The hubs has other views; whenever Big A makes a witty comment, he’s the hubs’ son and whenever he watches cartoons with his mouth half-open, he’s my son!!! So, we fight about that too!!!

Again, our second son, Little a, has a distinct personality of his own; and that we again still have not understood!! Little a has a calm, sweet temperament that both of us clamor to own; but he also has an exceptionally mulish attitude when he does not want to obey certain rules, that we both hasten to disclaim as ever existing in any corner of our respective family trees!

Ultimately, both of us agree that genetics plays but a small part in the shaping of our sons’ personalities; they are equally crafted by their environment; Nature versus nurture, if you will! We understand all too well that trying to categorize our sons into being ‘the smart one’ or ‘the studious one’ or ‘the troublemaker’ are labels that they do not neatly fit into; each has his own set of endearing qualities, but each also carry their load of eccentricities to catch us unawares. It’s a rollercoaster ride that we undergo every day and we can’t wait, with an open mind and an eager heart, to find out what lies at the next bend!

Roshni was born and brought up in Calcutta and is now living in California. Her two rambunctious boys, Big A, age 8, and Little a, age 4, are the main subjects of her blog and she can be found tweeting away (@RoshniAaMom) in her free time (you may well ask, what free time?!)


  • So cute Big A and little a 🙂 Lovely post Roshni – I look forward to more news from your gene pool 😉

    • Thanks so much, Nidhi!

  • You have put into words exactly what goes on in our house as well. I win the wars, though, as I’m the one at home. With positive traits my kids hear “oh, you got that from my side of the family” long before Dad has even made it home from work to get his two cents worth in!

    • LOL!! So many advantages for staying at home!! 😉

  • You have summed it all up pin a nutshell, Roshni! 🙂

  • It was wonderful reading about you and your family, Roshni and I’m looking forward to reading more of your roller-coaster rides 🙂

  • Stephanie Sprenger

    Great job! I think it is fascinating taking a deeper look at our traits, our parents, and our children. I love to analyze which qualities came from which parent, but I think you are right on about the danger of labeling.

    Nice work- I really enjoyed reading it!

    • Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Happy Little Feet

    As always you are right on! Great post!

  • Excellent post on how we are molded from others and yet bring a bit of uniqueness to our family tree and our personality. Loved the yin and yang portrayed here.


    • Thanks, Irish! We are not just the sum total of our genes!

  • Lovely post, as always, Roshni!

    Sometimes we think our kids are so like us and then they do or say something that makes us wonder did they actually come from us 🙂 I’m sure that is a genetic trait as well, our parents would have thought the same about us as well 😉

    • So true! We often are left wondering! I guess environment and peer pressure has a lot to do with it!

  • Rachna Parmar

    So true, Roshni! It amazes me how two kids born to the same parents and brought up in the same environment turn out to be so different :). There is an importance of nature and that of nurture, and the understanding that they complement each other is wisdom :).

    • Absolutely! My kids have different personalities so even if the environment is the same, the way each reacts to it is different!

  • Lovely knowing about your family gene pool, Roshni. 🙂
    Look forward to more about Big A and Little a… Love these names 🙂

    • Thanks, Shilpa! Both their names start with A, so I thought it would be a fun pseudonym!!

  • Roshni, this was a great post. You did such a good job of highlighting that there are different parts to all of us and how this shapes our relationships. Yet at the same time, this doesn’t have to pigeonhole us–we can still grow and bend every day!

    • Thank, Meredith! I remember that being pigeon-holed was no fun, so I hope not to do that to my kids!

  • Very nice post Roshni… Clearly the hand of nature and nurture..

  • It’s amazing how even infants show their own little personalities so early! Loved reading about three generations of your family – precious!

    • Thanks, Corinne!! Yes, mine were ‘kind’ enough to show me their personality early on!!

  • Loved loved LOVED the post Roshni.

  • Great post! I love what you have to say about categorization, too. I agree completely. There’s no way to summarize a complex little being (or big one for that matter) with a couple overused adjectives.

  • Amrita Thavrani

    Three generations wrapped in a single post.. treat for us ! 🙂 Waiting for more.

    • Thank you! I could complain about all three sets all day! 😛

  • Such a cute post Roshni 🙂

    It is true we are defined in so many ways because of our genes!!

  • Perfect post, Roshni.
    So well written. And congratulations. 🙂

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