Have you heard the amazing story about the Indian who cycled from Delhi to Sweden? PK Mahanandia was a street portrait artist who met Charlotte Von Schedvin from Sweden in Delhi one winters evening back in 1975. Charlotte had asked him to draw her portrait, he was renowned for completing them in 10 minutes, however, she wasn’t impressed with his first effort and decided she would return the following day.
It seems his attempts were no better on her next visit. He made the excuse that he was pre-occupied with a prediction his mother had made several years previous. Apparently, whenever he felt sad, his mother would tell him that according to his horoscope, he would someday marry a woman “whose zodiac sign would be Taurus, she would come from a far away land, she would be musical and would own a jungle”.
On his first meeting with Charlotte Von Schedvin, he asked if she owned a jungle. Her reply was that she did own a forest and added that not only was she “musical” (she liked to play the piano) her zodiac sign was also Taurus. He was smitten and asked her if she would join him for tea. He thought she might complain to the police, but the opposite happened. It seemed Ms Von Schedvin was attracted to him as much as he was to her.
The two fell in love and PK introduced her to his family who welcomed her, and were married according to tribal tradition. Ms Von Schedvin had travelled to India with friends from Sweden across the famous Hippie Trail crossing Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan – to reach India in 22 days.
When the time came for her to go home to Sweden, she made him promise to follow her to her home town of Boras in Sweden. After more than a year apart, PK did not have the money to buy tickets for flights to Sweden, so he sold everything he owned and purchased himself a bicycle! He rode the same Hippie route to Sweden, and started out on January 22nd, 1977. He made a vow that he would cycle 70km (44 miles) every day. He was able to use his artistic skills to help give him food and shelter during his ardous journey.
He finally reached Europe on 28 May – via Istanbul and Vienna, and then travelled to Gothenburg by train.
He’s 64 now and still lives with Charlotte and their children in Sweden and continues his work as an artist. I’m feeling sore all over just reading about his story. I once had a bicycle to ride to work on and the first time I used it, I sold it when I got there! How PK managed that journey I’ll never know.
Original story from the BBC