Ipa Ipu Saun Sabha

Nganthoi Lourembam *

Ipa Ipu Saun Sabha - A kid with her Grandparent
Pix Credit - Shankar Khangembam

Many years ago when I was very little, I remember the best game played with my dad. He would keep me on his half stretched legs while lying down on a mat and push up his legs like a seesaw. While doing so he used to sing 'Ipa Ipu Saun Sabha.'

Ipa and Ipu means father and grandpa whereas the other two words have no meaning. I felt as if I was flying.

It is actually an old tradition of Manipuri, the grandpa used to play it with his grandchildren while waiting for dinner. Since my dad lived separately from his father, I never got a chance to play with my grandpa. Unfortunately many families nowadays stay far from their old parents.

But I got the opportunity to listen to the folktale stories from my grandpa when he along with his friends used to come at Keithel (market) in the evening and gather at a hotel which is near our house. There was an old tradition that old citizens (many like my grandpa) would gather at a place and discuss about social issues which is known as Leipung Famba.

As soon as my grandpa comes, I along with my brother would go and sit next to him and ask for folktale stories. How my brother and me loved to listen to his stories! From my grandpa I learnt so many mythical and legendary stories of Manipuri. His stories were antique and how I believed them to be true.

Every word my grandpa uttered seemed so real and I had believed that 'dog' used to talk in the ancient times. His stories might not be true but they also taught me how to respect elders.

When I was ten to thirteen years old my grandpa stopped coming out at Keithel in the evening. I also became busy with my school works and didn't bother to ask my mom and dad why grandpa was not coming.

Soon we learnt that he was ill. Few days later, grandpa started coming out with his friends once again. As usual my brother and I went and sat next to him.

Ipa Ipu Saun Sabha - A kid with her Grandparent
Pix Credit - Shankar Khangembam

I still remember that day which wounded my small little heart; he asked us 'whose kids are you?' Grandpa didn't remember us. I quickly ran to mom and told her with anger, 'grandpa forgot us'. Later I learnt he was suffering from Alzheimer disease (a form of progressive mental deterioration which occurs with old age). My grandpa died after few years suffering from the illness.

Everyone has to die one day it's just a matter of who goes first as my mom says. It's true that Grandpa died but he left us with a priceless gift; a memory land filled with priceless stories and beautiful childhood.

But I regret of not staying with my grandpa, I feel there are lots, I wish I could learn from him.

I believe many kids these days don't get the chance to spend their childhood with their old grandparents.

May be years later no one will know or ever hear 'Ipa Ipu Saun Sabha.'

* Nganthoi Lourembam is a frequent contributor to
This article was posted on April 13, 2015.

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