Indian Man Who Cycled To Europe for Love

-Suchithra Pillai


How far will you go for love? How about 7000 miles and 8 countries, that too on a cycle! Sounds like a fairy tale but this is the true love story of an Indian man who cycled all the way to Europe from India to meet his lady love. He not just crossed global boundaries but also shattered the barriers of racism, untouchability and poverty to find love. As we celebrate this month of love, February, this incredible love story is a marvel in itself, giving goosebumps to all lovers across the world. 


A simple man born in the remote village of Odisha, PK Mahanandia, who never even dreamt to travel outside India, it was destiny that played cards that too in the form of art. It was his passion for sketching that paved the way for this fascinating love story. The onset was similar to an old Bollywood movie where the hero meets the heroine on the streets by chance but in this case, our protagonist was a sketch artist who drew on the streets of Delhi for a living and his lady love, Charlotte, was a tourist who came to visit India during the winter of 1975. 


Enchanted by the artistic creations of PK Mahanandia, Charlotte wished to have her own portrait made by him. But the artist who got smitten by the beauty unfortunately landed up doing a very bad job at his first attempt. Though it was a tragedy at first, it was this initial hiccup that cut the first turf between the two. 


Mahanandia took it very personally and continued to draw her sketch for two days to impress. It was his innocence, strong conviction and the adoration that lured Charlotte towards him and thus their love bloomed through the world of canvas and colors. 


Another interesting facet of the story was a prophecy made by a scholar during Mahanandia’s childhood that ‘a Taurian musician from a faraway land would be his wife’. Meeting Charlotte for him was literally a dream come true, prediction meeting reality!


Even Charlotte, who was charmed by the mystic world around her, found herself driven towards him and they ended up getting married right away in a tribal ceremony. However it was not a happily ever after story for the couple as Lotte had to return to work in Sweden immediately. 


Promises were made to meet soon but the wait was not as expected with days becoming months and months turning into years. In a span of two years, hundreds of letters were exchanged that spoke of love and reunion but the future looked dicey and doubtful. It was then that Mahanandia took a step which no one would even think of – to travel across countries to meet his lady love! 


7000 miles across continents in a cycle, a journey beyond words that left everyone spellbound. This Valentine’s Day, Tell-A-Story brings to you this amazing love story of sacrifice, determination and true love. The video story reels you into the extraordinary journey of PK Mahanandia – the enigmatic love, the magical sketch, cycling odyssey of nearly 5 months, the incredible road accidents, encounters of untouchability and pain and at last turning victorious in love!


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About the author: Tell-A-Story is a venture into video storytelling, founded by Suchithra Pillai, who comes with over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India and the United States. Video narratives along with thought-provoking content in less than 5 minutes, to engage and entertain the audience, is its preeminent vision. 


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