Bigeni's Story

This story and photography is part of the exhibition Ethical Storytelling: Feelings and Memories. This story is exhibited twice to appear alongside both of the author's photographs.


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Sandra's Bad Luck - Bigeni

Once in an Indian country lived a father with his six yrs old daughter. The girl didn't have a mother, she was raised by the dad. They lived poorly and the father did not have a job to take care of his daughter.                                    


One day an old rich man came and ask for the daughter's hand in marriage,he took advantage of the poor family, so he told the father that he will pay a lot of money if he agreed. The daughter never had someone to defend her and she never wanted her family to end up poor forever. So she agreed to please her dad and got married to the old man at her age. 


The old man used to take care of Sandra as if she was her own daughter and not wife, but Sandra used to cry all day long because she missed her beloved father. The old man was not that healthy and had asthma and he used to go to the hospital for check ups. 


One hot season the old man got very sick and was admitted to the hospital. His condition was very serious and everyday there was no hope. One day Sandra received a call that her husband had passed away. Sandra was very happy, she thought that she would go back to her father's place. Pity Sandra never knew that this was the beginning of her bad luck in life.


In India they have a lot of taboos and beliefs. As a widow you are not allowed to live with your family or wear coloured clothes, they have special place for widows to stay. Once Sandra finished her husband’s funeral the widows were informed so they came and picked Sandra and took her to the widows’ house where all her dresses were taken away and she was given white clothes  and her hair cut off. She cried all day and night asking them to take her back to her father's place but they refused, she was asked to stay, going back to her father's place was against their rules.


Sandra was the youngest of all, she had no friends, she was left alone. There was this old woman called Naima. She was the one in charge of the place.

Naima liked Sandra a lot, she cared for her as her own granddaughter. The old lady had her own family closeby. They used to visit often,  and they also liked Sandra as well. Sandra was taken from the widows place to  Naima's place and was raised by Naima. 


Naima was married to Salim. They had two sons Ram and Rahim, they lived with a househelp called Hilo. Sandra became the new member of the family as their younger sister. Rahim was the most cheerful and playful, very talkative and interesting to be with. That made Sandra like Rahim a lot and the two fell in love with each other. The grandmother was uncomfortable with that so she had to keep them far  from each other, and took Rahim to study abroad.


One morning Sandra woke up very early, prepared breakfast with the help of Hilo. As they were busy in the kitchen Hilo jokingly said to Sandra that very soon Rahim is going to leave her. That he was going  to study abroad. Sandra sadly went upstairs to confirm the news she heard from Hilo, only to find Rahim packing and preparing for the trip. Tears dropped down her cheeks, she couldn't control herself. 


Rahim felt sorry for her but couldn't not do anything. All he did is ask Sandra to stay safe and pray for his safety too,  so Rahim left. As days went by Sandra got used to the absence of her friend Rahim. Years later Rahim was back to his home from abroad.     Sandra woke up so early that day and prepared all kinds of delicious foods including Rahim’s favourite dish.


Surprisingly, Rahim arrived in the company of a lady from the University they studied. Everyone was shocked by this but no one said a word about it, but all in all they were glad to see him again after so many years. Sandra was disappointed to see all that, she did expect that Rahim would come back for her and ask her hand in marriage. She realised that it was just never going to happen. 


But Sandra's love for Rahim grew even stronger, she didn't give up. She tried all she could to get his attention until the old woman noticed it once again. She didn't like it at all. She even began disliking Sandra, everything she did became a problem in the house. She kept on reminding her that she could never get married again because she was a widow, this made Rahim so angry. 


Rahim sent the other girl from the University back to her parents house, he wanted peace of mind and more time to think. Then Rahim surprised everyone, he proposed to Sandra. The family members did not like it so the old woman Naima, sent Sandra out of the house and asked her never to step foot in the house again, she cursed her and forbade her from seeing Rahim because it was against their tradition. Rahim angrily disagreed and exclaimed that everyone had a right to choose their own happiness and follow their hearts desires. He in fact asked Sandra to quit the white dresses and wear any kind of dress she likes because she had every right to live a colourful life. He added that he was going to stand by Sandra and marry her against all odds. 


He surely made good his threat and indeed they were thrown out of the house. His elder brother Ram was on their side, he advised Rahim to go ahead with the marriage plans. The wedding was planned and after some time they went back to the parents to ask for their blessings. After so many disappointments, finally one day they all agreed that the two were in love and Sandra has a right to a happy and colourful life. She should live a normal life just like any other girl and they should get rid of the useless traditions that deprive one's rights.


On the wedding day everyone celebrated happily. Rahim and Sandra got hitched and live a happy life thereafter.