Journey to the West: An Indian Man Cycles From His Country to Europe in the Pursuit of Love (Pub’d in China Daily)

China Daily just published my feature story, titled Journey to the West, about PK Mahanandia and his extraordinary journey from India to Sweden by bicycle for love (which I blogged about earlier this year). Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

PK Mahanandia, the subject of the book The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love, has been called a “Silk Road hero” for his feat, which spanned 3,600 kilo­meters over more than four months in 1977. But few know that his epic journey to the West was, in part, inspired by the legendary Chinese monks Faxian (337–422) and Xuan Zang (602–664).

“I said, ‘If Faxian and Xuan Zang can walk from China to India, why couldn’t I go by bicycle?’” recalls Mahanandia. “There was no doubt. I will do it or I will die.”

But unlike the monks, who sought Buddhist texts, Mahanandia sought love — specifically from Charlotte Von Schedvin, the Swedish woman who was destined to be his wife, according to a prophecy.

“My mother said, ‘We are not going to arrange a mar­riage for you. Your wife will find you — her sign (zodiac) is Taurus, she plays the flute and she owns jungles.’”

He and Von Schedvin met in New Delhi in 1975, at a time when Mahanandia was an impoverished art student from the “untouchable” caste who drew portraits in the popular shopping district of Connaught Place.

“When I started doing her portrait, I felt a strange feel­ ing in my body. I was breath­less.”

She returned, and after asking her questions, he learned she was a flute player born in May, whose family owned forests.

“Then I knew that we are destined to meet. I said, ‘You will be my wife, it is decided in the heavens.’”

You can read the full article online. And if you like it, share it!

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