Byron shire comedian, Sandy Gandhi, who called herself ‘Australia’s most easterly Indian’ died suddenly on Wednesday (February 1).
Sandy, whose real name was Sandra Ahrana, turned 59 on Saturday (January 28).
She was as passionate about Byron Shire as she was about everything in her life. Sandy was ‘always on’ and could keep a dinner party in stitches just as much as a stand-up audience.
Her birthday coincided with the screening of Spice Sisters, a film in which she starred, and one of the featured Australian shorts in Flickerfest this year.
Sandy died suddenly while talking to a friend on the phone on Wednesday morning.
Her friend and colleague, artist and filmmaker Duncan James broke the news on Facebook earlier this evening.
‘She was an amazing person both on stage and in the community where she devoted and volunteered much of her time. She will be sorely missed by many,’ he wrote in his post.
‘RIP Sandy xx,’ he concluded.
After moving to the northern rivers, Sandra, as she then was, began doing the door at comedy gigs organised by the Echo’s Mandy Nolan.
Eventually Ms Nolan decided ‘she was funnier than a lot of the people I was hiring.’
Mandy took her under her wing and, not long afterwards, her alter ego Sandy Ghandi was born.
Mandy remembers her ‘shaking like a leaf’ before going on stage but somehow she always summoned the courage to do it – and she was always hilarious.
‘Seems a bit unfair that Sandra Ahrana will never live to the age of her comedic creation Sandy Gandhi,’ Mandy said.
‘There was decades of jokes left in the old girl. It’s hard to believe she’s gone.
‘She is Indian. There is always reincarnation. I know what she’d say in her sharp character accent: “I’ll be back”.’
In just a few weeks Sandy was to appear in Canberra’s Multicultural Stand Up Spectacular: Show Us Your Roots at the Canberra Theatre.
A full obituary will be published in the upcoming issue of The Echo, in the meantime, above is a video tribute to Sandy Gandhi.
Vale Sandy x