Charlotte Von Schedvin met Indian artist PK Mahanandia in Delhi in 1975. Ms. Schedvin traveled from Sweden to India after learning of Mr. Mahanandia’s art and decided to have him do her portrait.
Dr. Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia had just started to make a name for himself as an artist. He was a poor art student at the Delhi College of Art.
Luckily, they both fell in love while Mr. Mahanandia was doing his portrait. He fell in love with her beauty and she fell in love with her simplicity.
When Mrs. von Schedvin had to leave, the duo decided to get married. In an old interview with BBCMahanandia said, “She was wearing a sari when she first met my father. I still don’t know how she managed. With the blessings of my father and family, we got married according to tribal tradition.”
As the time for her departure approached, she asked her husband to accompany her. However, Ms. Mahanandia had to finish her studies first. She made him promise that she would follow her to her house in the Swedish textile town of Boras.
The two kept in touch through letters.
After a year, when he planned to visit Mrs. von Schedvin, he realized that he did not have enough money to buy a plane ticket. She sold everything she had and bought a bicycle.
Over the course of the next four months, he crossed Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey. Her cycle broke many times along the way and she even had to go days without eating. But nothing could break his will.
He started his journey on January 22, 1977 and cycled around 70 km every day.
“Art came to my rescue. I made portraits of people and some gave me money, while others gave me food and shelter,” he told the BBC.
He arrived in Europe on May 28, via Istanbul and Vienna, and then traveled to Gothenburg by train.
The two were officially married in Sweden.
“I had no idea of European culture. Everything was new to me, but she supported me at every step. She’s just a special person. I’m still in love like I was in 1975,” he told the BBC.
The couple now lives in Sweden with their two children and he continues to work as an artist.
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