Saturday, June 15, 2024

44 Years Ago, This Man Cycled From India To Europe For Love

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PK Mahanandia and Charlotte BBC

While the Babylonians are credited with putting down astrology in history, it was the Egyptians who invented the signs of the Zodiac. They devised a system based on months and constellations unknowingly setting off the trend we all know of as horoscopes today. While we’ve got our fair share of non-believers, there’s a certain thrill when it comes to fortune telling, or learning about your day before it’s even begun. Yet, here’s one of India’s favourite love stories that sounds like it’s straight out of Bollywood; based entirely on a ‘prophecy’.

When PK Mahanandia was first told by his mother that 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’, it seemed a little far-fetched. Yet, he kept his faith in her prediction based on his horoscope. The struggling artist began to make his name in Delhi and became famous for his ‘10 minute portraits’. It was this very fame that led Charlotte Von Schedvin to him at Connaught Place. Unhappy with her portrait, she decided to go back the next day—a sign he took as divine interference for he had felt something from their very first meeting.

The second he saw her again, he decided to confirm his doubts by asking her three simple questions, only to find that she did indeed tick all the boxes. Not only did she own a forest as her family was of Swedish nobility, but she was also an avid musician and a Taurus. From thereon, the duo spent their last month in India together, after which she had to leave from Sweden. “She wore a sari when she met my father for the first time. I still don’t know how she managed. With blessings from my father and family, we got married according to tribal tradition,” Mahanandia said in an interview.

He promised to follow her to her hometown and as time passed, they kept in touch through letters. Charlotte, who had driven from Sweden to Delhi with her friends along the famous hippie trail crossing Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, had reached India in 22 days. Since he didn’t have enough money for a plane ticket, he did the next best thing — he sold everything he owned, bought a bicycle, and followed the same hippie trail she came down from.

22 January, 1977 marked the first day of his journey that only ended four months later, on 28 May. He explained that art had saved him yet again, as he would draw portraits in exchange for money or food and shelter. Back then, he did not need a visa to enter countries and said, “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’m still in love just as I was in 1975.” Since then, he’s spent his life in Sweden with Charlotte, and their two children.

If there’s one thing our generation could learn a thing or two about, it’s the lengths one would take for love. Today, relationships are frivolous — people assume love is a right swipe away. Yes, modern technology is great but in the end, there’s just something about old-school love that makes one wistful. Oh, Meat Loaf. If only people would do anything for love, today.

Image Source: BBC

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