This is sometimes called to be true love or determination you can only find in the hearts of true lovers. This is the story of Dr. P K Mahanandia AKA Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia who made a historic bicycle trip from India all the way to Sweden in 1977 to meet his Swedish lover.
Mr. Mahanandia, hailing from the state of Odisha, India was good at drawing portraits and rose in to fame when he drew a portrait of the Iron Lady Ms. Indira Gandhi, while studying in the Delhi College of Arts. He used to sit at Connaught Place in New Delhi to draw portraits and it was there he met this young woman from Sweden, Ms. Charlotte Von Schedvin, who was studying in London and reached Delhi on a 22 day van trip in 1975. Charlotte approached PK for a portrait and this meeting led the couple to fell in love and got married.
Upon her return to London, Charlotte insisted PK to accompany her, but he decided not leave and promised her someday he will come and meet her by his own. The couple kept in touch through letters.
After his studies at Delhi, he decided to keep his promise made to his lady of love. PK was poor and he had nothing much for himselves. He sold everything he own and bought a second hand bicycle and started his journey in 1977 with his paints and brushes.
He drove his ride from New Delhi through Amritsar, then covered Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria and Denmark. His old bicycle broke down several times and also had to starve for many days as he didn’t had much money for himselves, but nothing stopped his determination to meet Charlotte. It was a time when immigration and visa formalities were necessary in several countries.
He finally reached the Sweden after a 4 month 3 week long journey. Upon reaching the Swedish border, the officials were amused to see a man who drove his bicycle to meet his lover. PK showed them the photographs of his marriage with Charlotte and told them his story. They could not believe their eyes or ears when they heard his story and thought that how a lady from Euopean royal blood can marry a common man from far east.
PK was also confused if Charlotte would accept him if he reach out to her after two years. The news about this journey spread out in Sweden and when Charlotte came to hear about this man from Delhi, she drove to Gothenburg and received her husband in great joy. By breaking a tradition that prohibits the family from falling in a relationship with non-European personals, Charlotte’s parents accepts PK wholeheartedly.
PK fondly call Charlotte as Lotta and the couple got married again in 1979 started living happily in Charlotte’s home town Borås, Sweden. The couple have a son Siddharth(Karle) a daughter Emelie.
Being an artist, Swedish government employed PK as an adviser in arts and culture. To honor the love story of the century, the Government of Sweden also made several documentaries. PK’s works have been exhibited in several locations all over the world also been in to the UNICEF postcards numerous times. On January 4, 2012, PK was awarded with a honorary doctorate degree (Degree of Honoris Causa) by Utkal University of Culture in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha state, India. The Government of Odisha designated him as the Oriya Cultural ambassador to Sweden. In a recent development, Devdas and Mary Kom maker Sanjay Leela Bansali is planning to make a film featuring the love story of PK & Lotta.