A Man from India Rides 3,977 Miles on His Bicycle for 5 Months to Reunite with His Wife


Everybody loves a good romance movie, especially when 2 destined people meet and have a happy ending. Some people prefer a love story wherein a poor boy falls in love with a rich girl, and the rich girl falls for him in the end. Some say that love stories with happy endings only happen in movies. However, decades ago, a man from India fell in love with an aristocratic woman from Sweden, and their love story ended far more dramatic than in the movies.

In 1949, a boy named Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia was born into a poor family in India. The villagers shunned him and his family and were often ridiculed due to the country’s caste system. They were classified as “untouchables” with the lowest status.

Since he had no money to enter school, he developed and enhanced his skills in the arts through self-study. When he was in his late teens, he eventually entered the University of the Arts in New Delhi, and Pradyumna gradually became popular due to his paintings. This is where his love story began.

In 1975, a Swedish princess who was studying in England, 19-year-old Charlotte Von Schedvin, heard of Pradyumna’s famous paintings. She decided to travel to India to ask Pradyumna to paint her.

When she arrived in India, and the two met, it was love at first sight. It was like stepping into a love story drama we see on TV. Pradyumna was captured by Charlotte’s charm, and she was attracted by his simplicity. They were 2 people from 2 opposite family backgrounds. However, it did not hinder their feelings for each other. As the days passed, they gradually fell in love and married despite people opposing the marriage.

In 1978, Charlotte had to return to Sweden and hoped that her husband could go with her. However, Pradyumna refused since he has not finished his studies and promised to follow her to Sweden and find her after his graduation. Then they went their separate ways.

The couple maintained their correspondence through letters. Their love for each other was still reciprocated through long-distance mail since mobile phones were not yet available at the time. After Pradyumna graduated, Charlotte offered to buy his plane ticket to Sweden, but he refused. He wanted to rely on his own strength to reach her.

Pradyumna sold all his belongings and bought a used bicycle. Packing all his drawing kit, he decided to cycle from India to Sweden. The travel went smoothly since, at the time, entry and exit in various countries did not have such strict visa regulations as today. However, Pradyumna traveled 3,977 miles on his bicycle from India to Sweden for 5 months.

When Pradyumna finally reached the Swedish border, the local immigration officer is surprised that he has traveled from India on a bicycle. The officer’s astonishment heightened when he heard about his marriage to Charlotte, who belongs to a noble family. When Pradyumna showed him photos of their marriage, he was allowed to enter smoothly into Sweden.

When the news of Pradyumna’s arrival in Sweden reached Charlotte, she immediately went to Gothenburg to pick him up. They hugged as soon as they reunited. Fortunately, Charlotte’s family accepted her husband and allowed royals to be married to non-white people, breaking the royal family tradition.

Pradyumna and Charlotte lived happily in Sweden. Through the years, Pradyumna gradually became a renowned master portrait painter, with his paintings being exhibited in major cities around the world. Additionally, he has won several awards. As of late, the couple has been married for over 40 years and has raised 2 children.

Most of Pradyumna’s paintings found their way to UNICEF greeting cards. On 4 January 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctorate (Degree of Honoris Causa) from Utkal University of Culture (UUC) in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha state, India. He was also designated as the Oriya Cultural Ambassador to Sweden by the Government of Odisha.

Rumor has it that famous Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is developing a film about the love story of Pradyumna and Charlotte, so people may witness an inspiring true love story that surpasses the telenovelas we watch in the movies or on TV.

True love never recognizes race, culture, status, and nowadays, gender. People should not raise a barrier to true love and relationships. We are all born to love and live happily and spread good vibes to everybody for a brighter future.

Images credits: © ERA BARU and The Times of India


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