Tell A Story – a column where riveting South Asian stories are presented like never before through unique video storytelling.
How far will you go for love?
How about 7000 miles and eight countries, that too on a cycle! Sounds like a fairy tale but this is the true love story of an Indian man who cycled all the way to Europe from India to meet his lady love. He not just crossed national boundaries but also shattered the barriers of culture, racism, untouchability, and poverty to finding love. As we celebrate February, the month of love, this incredible love story is a marvel in itself, giving goosebumps to lovers all across the world.
A simple man born in a remote village of Odisha, PK Mahanandia, had never even dreamed to travel outside India. Yet, it was destiny that played its cards, and that too in the form of art. It was his passion for sketching that paved the way for this fascinating love story. Similar to an old Bollywood movie where the hero meets the heroine on the streets by chance, our protagonist was a sketch artist who drew on the streets of Delhi for a living, and his lady love, Charlotte, was a tourist who came to visit India during the winter of 1975.
Enchanted by the artistic creations of PK Mahanandia, Charlotte wished to have her own portrait made by him. The artist who was smitten by the beauty, unfortunately, ended up doing a very bad job on his first attempt. Though it was a rocky start, it was this initial hiccup that cut the ice between the two.
Mahanandia took it very personally and continued to draw Charlotte’s sketch for two days to impress. It was his innocence, strong conviction, and adoration that lured her and their love blossomed through the world of canvas and colors. They ended up getting married right away in a tribal ceremony.
However, it was not a happily ever after for the couple as Charlotte had to return to work in Sweden soon after. The wait was not as short as expected, with days stretching into months and months turning into years. In a span of two years, hundreds of letters were exchanged that spoke of love and reunion, but the future looked dicey and doubtful. It was then that Mahanandia took a step which no one would even think of – to travel across countries to meet his lady love!
This Valentine’s Day, Tell-A-Story brings to you this amazing love story of sacrifice, determination, and true love. The video story reels you into the extraordinary journey of PK Mahanandia – the enigmatic love, the magical sketch, the cycling odyssey, and the pain.
Suchithra Pillai has over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India and the U.S. Her ‘Tell-A-Story’ venture into video storytelling create video narratives along with thought-provoking content in less than 5 minutes, to engage and entertain the audience. For more such intriguing stories, subscribe to the Tell-A-Story Channel. You can also follow the stories on Facebook @tellastory2020 and Instagram @tell_a_story2020