L'Incredibile storia dell'uomo che dall'India arrivò in Svezia in bicicletta per amore, The Incredible Story of the Man who, from India, afforded in Sweden in Bicycle for Love by Per J Andersson is a stunning book published by Sonzogno.
This one is not just a love-story, it's also the personal story of the protagonist, immersed in the biggest cultural and political panorama of 1970s's India.
A story of redemption after humiliation, "mental segregation" true unhappiness that brought the protagonist to searching for suicide as a modality of escapism from the absurdity and incoherence of life.
This one is the fascinating, terrible, sad, dreaming story of a baby, kid, teen-ager, boy, man born with a precise destiny: oh, leaving alone the premonition this one is the story of Pikay.
This book is dreaming in the description of the life Pikay lived outdoor, and his great affection and love for every kind of animals, in a religion, Hinduism and Buddhism "horizontals" in this sense: every creature is at the same level of man and need to be respected, because the divinity is everywhere.
It was a sufferance reading the discriminatory part of the tale; truly painful. A horrible, sad system, created centuries ago and nurtured with care created great discrimination in India: the system of the castes.
Pikay was born in the jungle so he breathed more than anyone else what it means respect for nature, love for plants, spirits of forests and of course for animals, serpents included, because every creature must be loved and is a divinity.
But, what happens when a person is born in the "wrongest side" of the barricade, without any cast supporting him/her?
It's a mess. It's a mess because probably the circuit of discrimination created by centuries of culture of castes, won't never permit to this newborn people to develop a real life, left alone, discriminated, "untouched" because impure.
Discrimination is different from places to places. In the USA we assisted at a lot of discrimination because of a story of skin color but discrimination involves a lot of situation.
Illnesses, social status.
Everything can be part of a process of discrimination. The case of Pikay was his social status.
Pikay was not just born poor, he didn't just live in a hug, cabin, he was an untouchable.
India is divided per castes; the author at a certain point writing about castes, is pretty clear; in India also at school people are divided for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes, the latest one that defined Pikay; a pan.
Classified like impure, people of other castes must avoid them because they would become impure as they are.
Look what a psychological problem these people must live. Pikay lived a pretty stressing life when young.
What did it mean to him being at school?
A terrible segregation, distant from his schoolmates and close to them only when there were special visits of superiors when he was treated like the other schoolmates.
Of course, hypocrisy.
Situation changes when he goes to high school, when he changes place, and when he understands that in a city people don't mind who you are, the important is what you bring with you.
In particular when he decides to go to New Delhi for studying art he breaths an international communion of spirit and union with everyone.
Pikay has a talent: he loves to make portraits of people and he is great when he draws.
Sufferance won't end there because unfortunately when money run out he will sleep with the rest of homeless at the train station or in other places waiting for best times, interrupting in the while, school. A friend of him, they are still in contact remembers that the most urgent problem Pikay felt was the one of feeding himself. This one was his first stress and urgency.
Who is Lotta? Lotta lives in Sweden and she doesn't live at all the stresses of Pikay, but she has an adoration, who knows why? for India and once she will afford this trip in India she will discover Pikay, falling in love for him and waiting for his arrival in Sweden.
What Pikay will do is to start this memorable trip plenty of anecdotes with a second-hand bicycle...
Beautiful descriptions, not just of this incredible trip but also of the historical moments Pikay lived in.
He met many important and influential people including Indira Gandhi, all requesting him a portrait.
Amazing love-story where past, present, premonitions, divination, made the difference in the life of these happy protagonists.
Yes, there is a wonderful happy end.
I highly suggest to all of you this book!
I thank Sonzogno for the physical copy of this book.
Anna Maria Polidori