Saturday, June 7, 2014

Understanding Anirudh-2

Dear Arjun and Anirudh,

I know understanding a person isn't an easy task. Every one is different, their interests are different, behaviour is different, so is their thinking. But it is certainly an exciting task trying to get a better understanding of some ones thought process. Sometimes I feel it is just like any other job. The more you get involved in it, the more precise your predictions will be. When it comes to you, I felt it might be even more easier. There isn't any deviation from what you think and what you do. Yet, I have been trying since several months to understand you better. I will certainly have to continue my experiment for several years to really understand you better.

Some time back I read an article which explained how identical twins sharing the same genes, having the same upbringing, will end up with totally different personalities. Essentially, there is a mechanism by which environmental changes alter the behaviour of our genes. It involves a process called methylation, which occurs when methyl, which floats around the inside of our cells, attaches itself to our DNA. When it does so, it can inhibit or turn down the activity of a gene and block it from making a particular version of a protein in our bodies. All sorts of life events can affect DNA methylation levels in our bodies: diet, illnesses, ageing, chemicals in the environment, smoking, drugs and medicines. Except for dresses, we have never treated you differently! So the methylation in your case must have been different when you were still in the womb!

I have told you how different you both were an year back. This is the second annual review! In last two years, I think I have got a reasonably good understanding of your behaviour. In short, Anirudh is an active outgoing person interested more in practical things whereas Arjun is more of an intelligent introvert, just like me :) Well, I am certainly wrong in many counts, but I still like to believe I have really understood you very well!

I was quite amazed at Arjun's interest in books from the beginning. Don't get too excited, as my comparison is only with Anirudh. I haven't done anything special to induce any interest in books. After your birth, I don't even remember reading any books myself! Arjun started coming to me voluntarily with a book in his hand asking me to show things. When I started showing him different types of animals, he was all ears to know them more. Within a span of one week, he could identify most of the animals in that book. I was really surprised at his interest and ability. On the other hand, Anirudh showed no interest at all. He would only come to me when he was too jealous of Arjun. But when I started showing him things, it was very evident that he wasn't keen on learning. He just wanted to grab my attention from Arjun. He was more interested in playing with the book and tearing it apart.

The same goes true for rhymes and other things as well. Arjun shows more interest in listening to rhymes and trying to enact. But not Anirudh. A lot of time I get confused as whether Arjun is really an obedient student or just wants to show off! Though Anirudh doesn't respond to our requests, I have found it really hard to understand his inclination towards learning. Once in a while he comes and surprises me by telling things which he might have overheard from Arjun. I think he also has the same level of ability as Arjun, but he wants to do things with his complete control rather than being told by others.

Anirudh is way ahead of Arjun when it comes to trying new things. He is more keen on repairing things than playing with it. He could learn how to switch on the mobile phone and unlock it without any help. He was also the first one to learn how to open the washing machine door, switch on/off television etc. His interest in playing with blocks to build structures is also far exceeding than that of Arjun. Certainly Arjun isn't as good as him when it comes to creativity.

But Arjun is cunningly smart in other things. I can see some of my genes being shared only with Arjun! He doesn't generally disturb Anirudh. He is more or less satisfied with the toys given to him. However Anirudh is only interested in what is there in Arjun's hands, even though it is the same as the one given to him. Whenever we are watching, Arjun is always the one getting bullied. But when we are not watching, he is good at protecting himself! Anirudh doesn't get that art of deceiving.

However the more I observe your behaviour closely, the more I find about new things. Most of the time contradicting my earlier conclusions! You often seem to swap your behaviour. When I almost come to a conclusion that Anirudh is the one who likes people more, you change! Anirudh starts crying at strangers and Arjun starts mingling with them far more quickly. When I almost decide that Arjun is the one getting bullied always, he learns to become more aggressive, attacking Anirudh at every possible opportunity. You just don't let me make up my mind clearly on anything.

I also can't really make out what you really think about each other. I haven't seen you playing happily with each other for more than 5 minutes. One of you will get bored within 5 minutes and start a fight! You certainly fight more often than you play with each other. No matter how much you fight with each other, I have lately observed the strong bond between you. Whether it is just for the pleasure of fight or something else, you don't like to be away from each other for a long time. The fights are always within our home. I haven't seen you fighting with each other outside the house. Your child minder says you defend each other in cases of conflicts with other kids.

Despite your changing behaviour, I think few things don't change much. Arjun remains to be an introvert, sensitive, matured person whereas Anirudh continues to be an explorer, naughty, childish. Though you both look the same, I don't see much in common when it comes to your behaviour.

I think I started writing this almost 6 months back before the elections and office work swallowed me completely. Many things have changed in last 6 months. The developments that you are showing are amazing. You started speaking many words. You can understand us fairly well. You can also interact with us fairly well. Some of your behaviour has also changed in those 6 months. Anirudh does show interest in books now. He is more interested in listening to stories than Arjun. However majority of the things remain the same. Arjun is still the same matured intelligent person and Anirudh is still the same naughty boy.

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