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Man who cycled from India to Europe to claim his Swedish bride

"I was cycling for love, but never loved cycling. It's simple."...

An Indian artist who believed a Swedish tourist was ‘the love of his life’ cycled from India to Boras in Sweden in just four months in 1977 to convince her parents to let them marry.

Following the ‘Hippy Trail’, PK Mahanandia decided to make the journey to reunite with the woman who had captured his heart when she posed for a ‘portrait in 10 minutes’.

He recalled how Charlotte Von Schedvin was not happy with the first portrait, and returned the next day. Although she was no more satisfied with his second attempt, he invited her for tea.

Given his low-caste status, he was amazed when she agreed, and he quizzed her to find out whether she was ‘the one’, given that his mother had told him his future wife’s "zodiac sign would be Taurus, she would come from a far away land, she would be musical and would own a jungle”, according to the BBC.

Ms Von Schedvin responded that she was a Taurus, her noble family owned a forest, and she also played the piano.

"It was an inner voice that said to me that she was the one. During our first meeting we were drawn to each other like magnets. It was love at first sight," Mr Mahanandia said.

"I thought he was honest and wanted to know why he had asked me those questions," Ms Von Schedvin said.

They married in India, but later left to drive the Hippy Trail, through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey - to get home.

”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," he said.

After a year apart, Mr Mahanandia decided enough was enough and sold all his belongings to buy a bicycle. On January 22, 1977 he began the trip, cycling 44 miles a day.

He said: "Art came to my rescue. I made portraits of people and some gave me money, while others gave me food and shelter.

"Afghanistan was such a different country. It was calm and beautiful. People loved arts. And vast parts of the country were not populated.

"Those were different days. I think people had more free time then to entertain a wanderer like me.

“The excitement of meeting Charlotte and seeing new places kept me going," he said.

Mr Mahanandia, following some difficulties in being accepted by Ms Von Schedvin’s parents, now lives with her and their two children in Sweden, working as an artist.

Now 64, he said: he fails to understand "why people think it was a big deal to cycle to Europe".

"I did what I had to, I had no money but I had to meet her. I was cycling for love, but never loved cycling. It's simple."

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