A man’s amazing love story that involved him cycling 7,000 miles to be re-united with his wife has won a book prize. Dr Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia rode across eight countries over five months in 1975 in order to see Charlotte Von Schedvin again.
The two had met in his home country of India after she travelled there from London to have her portrait painted by him when she was 19. ‘It’s great because it reminds people about love,’ Ms Von Schedvin, now 62, told Metro.co.uk after she picked up a prize with her husband at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards yesterday. She added: ‘We have to be reminded especially because of the time we’re living in.’ Their romance was turned into a book by author Per J Andersson called ‘The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love’.
Dr Mahanandia, 67, had become a popular artist while studying at the College of Art in New Delhi despite being discriminated against because he was from an ‘untouchable’ caste and was also poor. Dr Mahanandia rode across Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria and Denmark to see his wife after she returned home to Gothenburg, Sweden.
They had been separated for three years but he refused her offer of a ticket because he was too proud and wanted to make his own way there. The painter, who bought a cheap bicycle after selling his belongings, added: ‘The world and humanity can only survive through love. ‘It was a brilliant audience we’re thankful to the One World (publisher) team.’
Ms Von Schedvin thought the book was also successful because the couple were from different backgrounds and this intrigued people. ‘Love conquers all. It is time to forgive. We have to remember our humanity,’ she said. The book, which won the Marco Polo Outstanding General Travel Themed Book of the Year award, has been a hit around the world and is available in 15 languages.
The couple, who got married 40 years ago, were also excited about a possible film version of their book. They have been meeting British filmmakers and have also been talking to people in Hollywood. They said their two children were handling the film rights. Dr PK Mahanandia is also backing a campaign to get 10,000 volunteers to narrate a story based on his life. He hopes to reach one million children from undeserved communities in India.