Have you ever read a book that’s made you want to go out and travel straight away? For me, that book is ‘The Amazing Story of the Man who Cycled from India to Europe for Love’ by Per J Andersson who writes about PK and Lotta and their love story.
Having lived in Nepal over a couple of years, I have seen the dangers of the caste system in action and have been on the receiving end of it when a child mockingly shouted after me that ‘you have no caste’ which is entirely true as a foreigner, no I don’t. I’ve also worked with Dalits and learnt so much from them about the horrors they still experience. Therefore, reading this book was a trip down memory lane in some respects even though it was India where PK lived.
This is a love story led by destiny between 2 people from completely different backgrounds and cultures, however we see how well they fit together and make a life for themselves as a couple and then a family.
However, this book is so much more than a simple love story as we learn about the political situation in India during those times as well as social interactions as we watch PK go from sleeping on the streets to drawing portraits for governors and Prime Ministers. This skill of his also saves him as he travels across continents to be reunited with Lotta in Sweden as he is able to earn money by drawing people and this gets him out of so many tight situations.
The book could easily have a subtitle acknowledging the kindnesses PK received along his journey both through his time in India and also when cycling across borders and into new countries. It’s a feel good book which renews your faith in people who have the willingness to help others when they have very little themselves.
I bought this book at the airport ahead of my trip to India and Bhutan at the end of 2017, however i didn’t get around to reading it whilst away and since then it has been sitting on my bookshelf or in a pile of books in my room. I’m so glad I brought it with me on this trip. Luckily, I’m currently travelling which is just as well as this book certainly made me want to pick up my belongings and go!