Charlotte Von Schedvin met Indian artist PK Mahanandia in Delhi in 1975. Ms Schedvin travelled all the way from Sweden to India after she heard about Mr Mahanandia’s art and decided to get her portrait made by him.
Dr Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia had just started making a name for himself as an artist. He was a poor art student at the College of Art in Delhi.
As luck would have it, both of them fell in love with each other while Mr Mahanandia was making her portrait. He fell in love with her beauty and she fell in love with his simplicity.
By the time Ms Von Schedvin had to leave, the duo decided to get married. In an old interview with BBC, Mr Mahanandia said, “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.”
As the time for her departure neared, she asked her husband to accompany her. However, Ms Mahanandia had to finish his studies first. She made him promise that he would follow her to her home in the Swedish textile town of Boras.
The two kept in touch through letters.
After one year, when he planned to visit Ms Von Schedvin, he realised he did not have enough money to buy an air ticket. He sold everything he owned and bought a bicycle.
During the course of the next four months, he crossed Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. His cycle broke down many times on the way and he even had to go on without food for days. But nothing could break his will.
He started his journey on January 22, 1977, and he would cycle for 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 BBC.
He reached Europe on May 28- via Istanbul and Vienna, and then travelled to Gothenburg by train.
The two officially got married in Sweden.
“I had no idea about European culture. It was all new to me, but she supported me at every step. She is just a special person. I am still in love just as I was in 1975,” he told BBC.
The couple now lives in Sweden with their two children and he continues to work as an artist.
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