Her first tune

One Sunday past, when the outside was still orange with autumn and not as naked as it is today, a little promise was kept. Remember that promise of music? The one I could see in the far distance when a piano edged in through our doorway, and Chotto-ma had her first music lesson?

Well, on Sunday I was stretched out on the sofa between a doze and a dream, and D was sitting on the armchair with his feet on the coffee table, when Chotto-ma brought him his guitar. She wanted him to play it while she played the piano. Then she sat down on the black stool as she does, feet dangling, back straight, fingers curved on keys. And she played. D followed her lead, and she took him into the tune she’d been hearing in her head.

It took me a while to realise something special was happening. My ears had been expecting a playful plonking of one of her lessons, but her book of notes was closed, and what I was hearing was her first little composition, her own tune. As one note followed another, I sat up. D looked at me, grinning, still guitaring along. Midway through their session, I remembered to record.

It’s quite something to hear your child make their first music. Somewhere between magic and a punch in the plexus. Who knew? OK, OK, you even cry a little. And then you try to play cool. You also kiss her and eat her up; for which you never need much reason anyway.

And then, with her little tune playing in your head, you go into the kitchen, to bake something you’ve haven’t baked before. But you figure, her first tune deserves your first apple crumble. So the three of you chop up some apples, tickle some flour, find the cinnamon, sprinkle the sugar and have the house smelling like November.

So here it is: Chotto-ma’s first composition for you to listen to, and an apple crumble for after. The composition’s called ‘Sunday morning’ because it’s what our Sunday morning sounds like.

‘Sunday morning’ Chotto-ma with Ba

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Apple Crumble

This is the simplest, quickest crumble there is; and adapted to our taste, as everything is. It’s lower in butter and sugar than most crumbles, but it’s also less tart, so the sweetness finds its balance. It’s good.


450gms apple, peeled and cubed (Gala or Braeburn works well if, like me, you don’t like your crumble tart)
A pinch of cinnamon

For the crumble:

300 gms plain flour, sieved with a pinch of salt
160 gms of coarse brown sugar
150 gms of butter cubed at room temperature
A knob of butter to grease dish

Preheat oven to 180 degree C (350F/Gas mark 4)
Put the flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl, and rub it all together using both hands till it formsΒ  a mix that looks like breadcrumbs.
Grease baking dish with butter.
Mix apples with cinnamon, and place in baking dish.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until crumble is browned and apples are bubbling.
Serve with custard or cream.

27 thoughts on “Her first tune

  1. Pia: How absolutely beautiful it is! Her music is the sound of her soul and it is just beautiful. I listened to it a few times in pure amazement. She is a gem, a true gem in your hands. Both of you are doing a beautiful job!
    I look forward to seeing more of her paintings and hearing more of her music. And if we are lucky maybe her sweet little voice at the end of her music, again.

  2. Debjani, thank you, and much love for these words. Her music might be one of the best things we've done for her. Like her art, it brings her, and us, a lot of joy.
    You know, I was thinking of you a couple of days back. With the death of my Facebook, it feels like ages that I've seen your bunny or you and your beautiful paintings (I remember the beautiful Christmasy one from last year, and the vegetables, of course:)
    I hope you've been well.
    Hugs to you and S! xx

  3. Hello.

    I stumbled upon your blog sometime last week and have read almost every post in it by now. Yeah, I am a freak like that. πŸ˜›

    Just couldn't help commenting on that beautiful piece of music. It has changed my mood for the day. For the better, ofcourse. Hope you share more of these magical tunes, whenever it happens!

    The music was so touching that I couldn't wait to read your apple crumble recipe, I had to pen down my feelings somewhere. I wrote a blog post on meerablogs.wordpress.com. Hope you don't mind me linking it back to your post here.

    Have a great week Pia! Love! πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful piece of music, Pia. She sure is talented. Of course, with a mother like you, what else could one expect? Beautifully worded post, as always. πŸ™‚ I always love reading how you weave magic with your words…

  5. Wow, wow and wow! I am so glad you could rush, record and retrieve a better part of this melody for posterity. Memories are made of stuff like this Pia. She is gorgeous girl and has all the support she needs to grow into a wonderful human being. God bless you all.

  6. Thank you so much, Meera – for such a touching message, which Chotto-ma too will love reading years on. And for sharing the music on your very kind post.
    You started my Monday morning off on a smile.
    Much love x

  7. Thank you and thank you. And I love that you love reading my ramblings. It's always appreciated.
    I hope all is going well with the littlest, newest member of the family?

  8. Yes, I'm glad I did too, Vispy. You're so right – it's the small stuff that make the best memories. Thank you for the nicest wish – a good human being is pretty much the only ambition I have for her.

  9. Yes, she is fine. Just the usual new-mother troubles and blues. πŸ™‚ She's a tad underweight, and doesn't feed too well, so just working on improving that….Thanks for asking!

  10. Goose bumps and crumble…Chottoma has such an innate sense of rhythm its amazing! You capture the special moments in her and your life so magically with your words and photographs, I am tempted to hug you all everytime I read one of your posts…much ❀ to all of you!

  11. This much I can tell you – the little blues shall pass, and you'll look back on it and wonder what you were losing sleep over (literally, I'm sure)
    Luck and love!

  12. We're huggers, you and I, AD! Thank you, always. Sending you many of those, and much love – I know you know these special moments well, thanks to your little artist who's not so little anymore!

  13. I'm sitting here at work listening and literally fighting back the urge to cry a bit. What a lovely, lovely, LOVELY piece of music. Chotto-ma's path is clear…she is an artist in every sense of the word. Making apple crumble soon…wonderful post!

  14. And I'm sitting and reading this after a crazy day at work, and sending you a big, big hug, Tracy, for this beautiful note, this spontaneity. And for enjoying the music like we did. Much love x
    PS: Now it'll always be apple crumble music πŸ™‚

  15. I miss your Facebook posts….your food, your cooking and Chotto-ma's big wide eyes. I've been busy….waaaay too busy for my own sanity. Little girl is doing great, thank you for asking. There is a Christmas art in the pipeline…. with any luck it will get done by summer. πŸ™‚

  16. 'waaaay too busy for my own sanity' – I know exactly what you mean πŸ™‚ Winter hibernation is in order!
    But, winter or summer, whenever you finish that piece of art, maybe you'll share it on the blog? I'd love to see it!
    In the meantime, here's to doing less, Debjani xx

  17. Pia, I've read this twice already, once in a rush to get to the details, her tune, your crumble and then once again soaking in your writing this time. I remember you said somewhere she holds a mirror to you (guys); you must be soo soo proud of what it reflects – both the talent (and she is only 6 years old!) and the thoughtful and perceptive little human being she is turning out to be (again, only 6 yet!).
    I have a little girl of my own (she'll be 3 soon) and your posts on Chotto-ma are a constant reminder for me to not compromise in my head in terms of what I wish for her to be. Obviously, I don't mean grades and math, but intangibles like these…

  18. Lakshmi, I couldn't agree more with the intangibles you mention – those really are what finally matters if you step back and look at any life lived from a distance.
    Yes, she does make us very proud mainly for the person she is, as I'm sure your little girl does on a daily basis. Something shifts from age three, doesn't it – they start becoming a real person, and you can see so much of what they're going to grow into.

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