PK Mahanandia and Charlotte Von Schedvin are the perfect example of love which does not conform to any boundaries. Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia met Charlotte in Delhi in 1975. He was a poor art student from eastern India. The country’s caste system considered him to be untouchable. Even so he did not let the social status come in the way of his love story.
In 1971 Mahanandia joined the College of Art in New Delhi, India and established himself as a renowned artist who created spectacular portraits, reported India Times. On her visit to India, a 19-year-old girl heard about Mahanandia and decided to meet him to get a portrait of herself done. While Pradyumna made the portrait he fell in love with Charlotte. The young girl also reciprocated the same feelings when she saw the kindness and honesty in the artist.
Mahanandia told BBC, “It was an inner voice that said to me she was the one. During our first meeting we were drawn to each other like magnets. It was love at first sight.”
Reminiscing their meeting he added, “I still don’t know what made me ask her the questions and then invite her for tea. I thought she would complain to the police.”
Eventually they got married according to the traditional rituals and Charlotte also changed her name to Charulata. However, married life was not very blissful for the couple as Charlotte had to go back to Sweden. Pradyumna, on the other hand, could not go with her as his studies were not completed yet. He could only promise her that he would come to meet her one day.
More than a year passed and while both kept in touch through letters, it wasn’t enough. Pradyumna wanted to go to Charulata but he did not have enough money to buy plane tickets to go to Sweden. At last he decided to sell everything he had to buy a cycle. On that cycle he started his journey to Sweden on the 22nd January 1977. He would cycle almost 70 km every day.
During this time, art helped him a lot. He would make portraits for people and they give him food and shelter in turn. According to Mahanandia the world was very different in those days as he didn’t even need visa to enter most countries. On 28th of May he, finally, reached Europe.
After some opposition from Charlotte’s parents, both of them got married in Sweden. Presently, Mahanandia is the Odiya Cultural Ambassador of India to Sweden and lives there with Charlotte and their two children. The east meets west love story is an inspiration to every lover. Today when most relationships perish before blooming because of the distance Mahanadia and Charlotte’s love story establishes the truth that long distance cannot be a stepping stone in the love stories of true lovers.