Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia proved that true love absolutely exists when he traveled more than 6,000 miles just to be with the woman he loved, who later became his wife.
Mahanandia was born as an “untouchable” in a remote village in India in 1949. After his birth, an astrologer told his parents that he would not follow the traditional path of an arranged marriage.
“My parents were also told that my wife would be from a faraway land and born under the zodiac sign of Taurus, that she would be the owner of a jungle or forest, and that she would be a musician, playing the flute,”
he told National Geographic
. “I believed strongly in the prophecy and now know that everything is planned on this planet.”
As a kid, he was told that he would be working with colors and art. It turns out the astrologer’s prophecy for him was actually true, as he got into art later on in his life – he even received a scholarship from Orissa, India to attend the College of Art.
Mahanandia then left his village and became a street artist in Delhi, India, where he met many famous people, including Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova and former prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi.
But the most important meeting he had as a street painter was with his future wife, Charlotte Von Schedvin. The two of them met on December 17, 1975 when Von Schedvin, a woman with long, beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes, as he described her, approached him.
Mahanandia felt overwhelmed with emotions the moment he first laid eyes on Von Schedvin.
“When she appeared before my easel, I felt as though I didn’t have any weight,” he said. “Words are not accurate enough to express such a feeling.”
“Her eyes were so blue and big and round, I felt as if she was not looking at me, she was looking inside me, like an X-ray machine! I thought I must do justice to her beauty. But I couldn’t do it the first time,” he continued. “I was nervous, my hand was shaking. So I said, ‘Is it possible for you to come back tomorrow?’”
She agreed, and returned — not once, not twice, but three times.
They ended up spending nearly three weeks together before the inevitable happened — Von Schedvin returned to Sweden. Although they didn’t meet again for one and a half years, they continued to keep in touch through letters.
Thinking it wasn’t enough, he was ultimately led to the decision to sell everything he owned and travel to Sweden to be with the woman he loved. Mahanandia bought a bike using the money he got from selling his possessions and began his long journey West.
He mostly traveled by his bicycle, but he also hitched a ride on trucks. Mahanandia, who only had about $80 with him, slept under the stars using a sleeping bag. Even on the road, he still kept in touch with Von Schedvin.
“I also had lots of hippie friends, who fed me, instructed me, and guided me,” he said, adding, “I was not alone.”
“It was a different time, a different world of love and peace and, of course, freedom,” he continued. “The biggest obstacle was my own thoughts, my doubts.”
Ultimately, his journey brought him to Sweden and to his love. The pair eventually married and had two children together.
Fast forward to more than 40 years later, Mahanandia and Von Schedvin’s love is as strong as ever.
It’s nice to see that love still exists!