By Saroo Brierley
Saroo Brierley (born 1981) is an Indian-born Australian businessman who, at age five, was once separated from his organic mom. He was once followed by means of an Australian couple, and 25 years later reunited together with his organic mom. His tale generated major foreign media awareness, specially in Australia and India.
An autobiographical account of his studies, far domestic, used to be released in 2013 in Australia, published across the world in 2014, and tailored into the 2016 movie Lion, starring Dev Patel as Saroo and Nicole Kidman as his adoptive mom, Sue Brierley.
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Most of the time they stayed at another town a few stops down the train line, about an hour away. They would tell me “Ginestlay” was no good, so they were going to a place that sounded like “Berampur”—at the time, I could never remember its name. Apparently it was easier to find money and food there, and they had started making friends, too, all of them getting around by jumping on and off trains. When I got to be about four or five, occasionally my brothers would take me along with them. If a conductor ever asked for a ticket, we simply got off and hopped on the next train.
It’s a vicious cycle. You want something to fill your stomach, but you don’t know how to get it. Not having enough to eat paralyzes you and keeps you living hour by hour instead of thinking about what you would like to accomplish in a day, week, month, or year. Hunger and poverty steal your childhood and take away your innocence and sense of security. But I was one of the lucky ones because I not only survived but learned to thrive. One big impact that our Muslim neighborhood had on my upbringing wasn’t pleasant—circumcision at about age three.
In the cooler seasons, Shekila and I spent many nights waiting alone in the chilly house like newly hatched chicks in a nest, wondering if our mother would come home with some food. When no one came, I’d get the bedding out—just a few ragged sheets—and cuddle with her for warmth. During the hot months of the year, my family would join the others with whom we shared the house and gather together outside in the courtyard, where someone played the harmonium and others sang. I had a real sense of belonging and well-being on those long, warm nights.