He cycled 6000 km from India to Europe, driven by his love and passion for the woman he wanted to marry.
Love, an intangible and powerful force, acts as a profound motivation for human existence. People can end up doing extraordinary things for the sake of love. For Indian artist PK Mahanandia, love was a primary factor in embarking on a massive 6000 km cycling journey from India to Sweden to visit his lady love, Charlotte Von Schedvin. Von Schedvin was touring India when she came across Mahanandia in Delhi, per BBC News. He had become famous for producing portraits in just 10 minutes.
In 1977, an Indian man embarked on an extraordinary journey, cycling from India to Sweden to reunite with a woman he met during her vacation in India.— Fascinating (@fasc1nate) November 21, 2023
This incredible voyage took him through 8 different countries and spanned a total of 4 months. Remarkably, 44 years later, the… pic.twitter.com/HnHdVbI9Mu
She found the claim to be quite interesting and decided to experience it herself. Unfortunately, Mahanandia's efforts did not meet her expectations and she decided to return the next day to give him one more chance. However, he still failed a second time. Mahanandia explained that he could not draw a portrait of her because he was distracted by a prediction by his mother many years ago.
Mahanandia’s journey to fame and recognition was not an easy one. Born in 1949 in a village that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Mahanandia’s life as a Dalit was harsh outside his home. It was in school that he first understood the meaning of caste when he came in… pic.twitter.com/fP5grRYOZu— VisionaryVoid (@VisionaryVoid) November 21, 2023
In his younger days, a schoolboy in Orissa, Mahanandia, was the victim of discrimination from upper-caste students because he was a 'Dalit,' were member of the lower caste in Indian society back then. His mother would comfort him by predicting that he would go on to marry a woman "whose zodiac sign would be Taurus, she would come from a faraway land, she would be musical and would own a jungle." Upon seeing Von Schedvin, he was flabbergasted and asked if she owned a jungle.
I keep saying it that Love is the most beautiful and sweetest thing one can have. The vibe is different when you are with the right partner. The whole experience/memories becomes eternal.#Ilovetheirlovestory— Gabriel Opeyemi (@SimplyOpemi) November 21, 2023
Von Schedvin came from Swedish nobility, did, in fact, own a forest, played the piano and her zodiac sign was also Taurus. Mahanandia reflected on the interaction, saying, "It was an inner voice that said to me that she was the one. During our first meeting, we were drawn to each other like magnets. It was love at first sight." He revealed that he felt compelled to ask her questions despite fearing that she would call the police.
On the contrary, she was curious about his queries and wanted to know what prompted him to ask her all those questions. They conversed quite a bit and he eventually convinced her to visit Orissa with him. The duo fell in love over the trip and returned to Delhi, where Von Schedvin met his parents. They received blessings from his family and got married according to the tribal tradition.
The man behind this remarkable journey is Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia, often known as Dr. P. K. Mahanandia. He is an Indian-born Swedish artist celebrated for his epic bicycle ride from New Delhi to Gothenburg in 1977, all in the name of love to meet the woman of his dreams,… pic.twitter.com/gsN8tBNG6E— BOBBEY (@CalIMeDon) November 21, 2023
She had come to India using the famous hippie trail going through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, reaching India in 22 days. Von Schedvin made him promise to follow her to her hometown, Boras, in Sweden. A year passed and they managed to keep in touch with letters. Mahanandia could not afford a plane ticket but still wanted to keep his promise. So, he sold everything he had to buy a bicycle and decided to follow the same hippie trail to reach her.
The Cyclist.— VisionaryVoid (@VisionaryVoid) November 21, 2023
Love knows no distance too wide.
In the early 1970s, against the backdrop of a culturally rich yet socially stratified India, PK Mahanandia, a young artist from the marginalized untouchable caste, met Charlotte Von Schedvin, a Swedish noblewoman. Fate had woven a… pic.twitter.com/iIzbqWPWBg
He began on 22 January 1977 and covered a distance of around 44 miles every day. Mahanandia notes how the world was very different back then, as he did not need a visa to enter many countries. He talks about how art helped him in his journey, saying, "Again, art came to my rescue. I think love is the universal language and people understand that." The man talks about how people were less busy back then and engaged with him more actively on his trip.
When asked if he ever got tired, he said, "Yes, very often. My legs would hurt. But the excitement of meeting Charlotte and seeing new places kept me going." Mahanandia arrived in Europe on 28 May and opted to cover the last stretch on a train. He finally met her parents and managed to convince them to let them get married despite facing some difficulties.
i love to see love— Adam Starr (@_adamstarr) November 21, 2023
He spoke about the entire ordeal, saying, "I had no idea about European culture. It was all new to me, but she supported me in every step. She is just a special person. I am still in love just as I was in 1975." They are still married and currently live in Sweden with their two children. He added, "I did what I had to. I had no money, but I had to meet her. I was cycling for love, but never loved cycling. It's simple."