Author(s): Per J. Andersson
The story begins in a public square in New Delhi. On a cold December evening a young European woman of noble descent appears before an Indian street artist known locally as PK and asks him to paint her portrait - it is an encounter that will change their lives irrevocably. PK was not born in the city. He grew up in a small remote village on the edge of the jungle in East India, and his childhood as an untouchable was one of crushing hardship. He was forced to sit outside the classroom during school, would watch classmates wash themselves if they came into contact with him, and had stones thrown at him when he approached the village temple. According to the priests, PK dirtied everything that was pure and holy. But had PK not been an untouchable, his life would have turned out very differently. This is the remarkable true story of how love and courage led PK to overcome extreme poverty, caste prejudice and adversity - as well as a 7,000-mile, adventure-filled journey across continents and cultures - to be with the woman he loved.
Per J Andersson is a writer and journalist. He is the co-founder of Sweden's most well-known traveller's magazine Vagabond, and has been visiting India for the last 30 years. He lives in Stockholm. Anna Holmwood translates literature from Swedish and Chinese into English. She lives in Malmo, Sweden.