How far would you go for love? One man biked more than 4,000 miles and across eight countries.
Here's a heart-warming story for your midweek pick-me-up: Dr. Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia biked from India to Sweden to reunite with Charlotte Von Schedvin, the love of his life—and 40 years later, it was all documented in a fairytale worthy Facebook post that has earned the couple hundreds of thousands of fans.
The two met in 1975 when Mahanandia, a renowned (but far from rich) artist, was commissioned to paint the portrait of Von Schedvin, a Swedish student of royal blood who was visiting India on a break from her university in London. As Mahanandia painted her portrait, the couple talked and fell in love. Despite their disparate backgrounds, they married soon after.
In 1978, Von Schedvin had to return to Sweden, but Mahanandia was in the middle of his studies at the College of Art and couldn’t join her. As this was in the '70s: there was no Skype nor FaceTime, and the couple could only stay in touch via letters and phone calls.
Mahanandia finally finished his studies and wanted to join his wife in Sweden, but he was determined to make it on his own, a feat he managed not only on his personal earnings, but also on only two wheels, according to Facebook.
While Von Schedvin had offered to send him a plane ticket, instead, he opted to sell all of his belongings to buy a secondhand bicycle. He then set out from New Delhi to Gothenberg, Sweden.
His journey took four months and three weeks, as he traveled through Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria and Denmark to the Swedish border, where the guards stared at “the man from India who cycled all the way for around five months.”
Like any fairytale, this one's got a sugary-sweet ending: Von Schedvin came to meet him and “received her husband with unbridled happiness.” While the match was unlikely, her noble parents accepted Mahanandia and he moved in with the royal family. Now, after 40 years of marriage, Dr Mahanandia serves as the Odiya Cultural Ambassador of India to Sweden and lives with his wife Charlotte and their two children in Sweden, presumably, happily ever after.
While it sounds like a Disney story, Bollywood may get there first, as the Facebook post claims that filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is planning to make a film about the couple.