Most of the time, though, I concentrated on the present: I had started going to school, and I was making new friends and discovering a love of sport. It was an emotional conversation, and Mum held me close during our talk.
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We put in where each member of my family slept—even the order in which we lay down at night. We returned to the map and refined it as my English improved. But in the whirl of memories brought on by first making that map, I was soon telling Mum about the circumstances of my becoming lost, as she looked at me, amazed, and took notes. Talking enthusiastically in Hindi to my fellow adoptees inevitably brought back the past very vividly. I know the way. Soon after that, I told an even more complete version of events to a teacher I liked at school.
For over an hour and a half, she wrote notes, too, with that same amazed expression. Strange as I found Australia, for Mum and my teacher, hearing me talk about India must have been like trying to understand things that had occurred on another planet. Not surprisingly, there are gaps here and there. Although repeated revisiting and searching the past for clues might have disturbed some of the evidence, much of my childhood experience remains vivid in my memory. Back then, it was a relief to tell my story, as far as I understood it.
Now, since the life-changing events that sparked after my thirtieth birthday, I am excited by the prospect that sharing my experiences might inspire hope in others. Getting Lost Some of my most vivid memories are the days I spent watching over my baby sister, Shekila, her grubby face smiling up at me as we played peekaboo.
She always looked at me with adoring eyes, and it made me feel good to be her protector and hero. 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. 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.
If there was any milk, the women would bring it out and we children got to share it. The babies were fed first, and if any was left over, the older ones got a taste.
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I loved the lingering sensation of its sticky sweetness on my tongue. On those evenings I used to gaze upward, amazed at how spectacular the night sky was. Some stars shone brightly in the darkness, while others merely blinked. That was in our first house, where I was born, which we shared with another Hindu family.
Each group had their own side of a large central room, with brick walls and an unsealed floor made of cowpats and mud. It was very simple but certainly no chawl—those warrens of slums where the unfortunate families of the megacities like Mumbai and Delhi find themselves living. Despite the closeness of the quarters, we all got along. My memories of this time are some of my happiest.
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My father spent very little time with us I later discovered he had taken a second wife , and so my mother raised us by herself. My mother was very beautiful, slender, with long, lustrous black hair—I remember her as the loveliest woman in the world. She had broad shoulders, and limbs made of iron from all her hard work. Her hands and face were tattooed, as was the custom, and most of the time she wore a red sari. I do recall that he wore white from top to bottom, his face was square and broad, and his curly dark hair was sprinkled with gray. As well as my mother and my baby sister, Shekila, whose name was Muslim unlike ours, there were also my older brothers, Guddu and Kallu, whom I loved and looked up to.
Guddu was tall and slim, with curly black hair down to his shoulders. Kallu was heavier than Guddu, broad from top to bottom, with thin hair. When my father did live with us, he could be violent, taking his frustrations out on us. Of course, we were helpless—a lone woman and four small children. Even after he moved out, he wanted to be rid of us altogether. At the insistence of his new wife, he even tried to force us to leave the area so that he could be free of the burden that our presence brought to bear.
But my mother had no money to leave, nowhere to live, and no other way to survive. Eventually, my father and his wife quit the area themselves and moved to another village, which improved things for us a bit. I was too young to understand the separation of my parents. The only vivid memory I have of seeing my father was when I was four and we all had to go to his house to visit his new baby.
It was quite an expedition. My mother got us up and dressed, and we walked in the terrible heat to catch the bus. I remember seeing my mother coming toward me from the outdoor ticket booth, her image hazy in the wavering heat emanating from the tarmac. I kept a particular eye on Shekila, who was exhausted by the sizzling temperature.
The bus journey was only a couple of hours, but with the walking and waiting, the journey took all day. At least we were off the streets. Despite all this—or perhaps being oblivious to most of it—I was very happy to see my father when he greeted us at the door. We went inside and saw his new wife and met their baby. It seemed to me his wife was kind to us—she cooked us a nice dinner and we stayed the night there.
But in the middle of the night I was shaken awake by Guddu. He said that he and Kallu were sneaking out, and asked if I wanted to come along. But all I wanted to do was sleep. When I woke again, it was to hear my father answering a loud knocking at the front door. A man had seen my brothers running from the village into the open countryside beyond. The man was worried they could be attacked by wild tigers. I later learned that Guddu and Kallu had attempted to run away that night—they were upset by what was happening in our family and wanted to get away from our father and his other wife.
Fortunately, they were found later that morning, safe and sound. But one problem morphed into another: the same morning, standing in the street, I saw my father approaching and realized that he was chasing after my mother, with a couple of people following behind him. Not far from me, she suddenly stopped and spun on her heel to face him, and they argued and shouted angrily. Quickly they were joined by other people on both sides.
Perhaps their personal argument tapped into the tension between Hindus and Muslims, and it quickly turned into a confrontation. The Hindus lined up with my mother, facing the Muslims, who were aligned with my father. Tempers rose very high, and many insults were exchanged. We children gravitated toward our mother, wondering what would happen with all the shouting and jostling.
Then, shockingly, my father hurled a small rock that hit my mother on the head. I was right next to her when it struck her and she fell to her knees, her head bleeding. Luckily, this act of violence seemed to shock the crowds, too, cooling tempers rather than exciting them. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Martin Skrydstrup. Chapter 7. Chapter 8. Oh, am I gushing? View all 30 comments. Feb 07, Kelly and the Book Boar rated it it was ok Shelves: memoir , read-it-to-win-a-major-award , liburrrrrry-book , read-in , non-fiction , or-just-watch-the-movie , super-meh.
What can I say????? The first sign that this probably wasn't going to be a great book is the fact that the blurb wasn't even a blurb, but rather the opening pages of the story. Plus, the movie has received about eleventy Oscar nominations so it had to be decent, right? Wellllllllllllllllllllllll, the story was. A Long Way Home is about a boy named Saroo, who at five years old becomes lost from his family and winds up on the other side of India.
As an adult Saroo becomes a bit obsessed and uses Google maps to walk the various train tracks in hopes of spotting something familiar that will reconnect him with his past. There you have it. I have a feeling this is one of the rare occasions where the movie will surpass the book. I mean, just look at this child. I hate kids and I even kind of want to kidnap that one. Book 9????? View all 35 comments. Few life stories involve such impossible odds, incredible love, and sheer determiniation as Saroo Brierley's.
For several years after watching 'Slumdog Millionaire', my mind kept returning to these little boys and their heartbreaking story. When I started reading the book, after the title attracted me to it, I was unaware of Saroo Brierley's true story. After finishing the book I discovered that the movie "Lion" with Nicole Kidman in his Australian mother's role was made. I realized for the firs Few life stories involve such impossible odds, incredible love, and sheer determiniation as Saroo Brierley's.
I realized for the first time how big his story really became. He talked in the book of the press getting hold of it, but it never really dawned on me, or rather sunk in, how far and wide his amazing story traveled all over the world. And it is the most amazing story ever, of this five-year-old boy, born in extreme poverty in central India, who under calamitous and traumatic circumstances got lost at a train station and landed in an an orphanage, two thousand kilometers away from home, was adopted by Australian parents and decided 20 years later to find his family, even though he had the names of towns all wrong almost right , and even pronounced his own name incorrectly.
All through his life he always worried about his little sister who he took care of since he was four years old. He still felt responsible for her. And he was worried that his older brother, who at fourteen years old, was the head of the family with many responsibilities, was still looking for him, after Saroo was left at the train station that night to wait on his brother. He worried about his mother who had to work as a brick carrier on construction sites to make ends meet, and had nobody to take care of his little sister.
With the help of Google Earth, it took him 4 years, but he never gave up. Mentally, I was so involved in his search, I even marked his memories on sticky notes to help him search. Total madness, I know, since he wrote the book after the fact. But I just burst out in tears when he found the water tower at the train station where he got separated from his older brother one night so many years ago. In my mind I told him: "Oh Saroo, let's go!
Let's go! I feel it in my bones your mum is there! During the day he worked in his adoptive father's business, and at night he spent hours on Google Earth. In a country with almost 2 billion citizens, it was a daunting undertaking. Of course he did not really need me. It was not only a journey of thousands of kilometers home, but also an emotional road through terrible memories and gut-wrenching losses. I could just imagine his biological mother's joy when he stood in front of her after twenty five years.
Well, yours truly cried like a baby. I haven't seen the movie, but the book was an emotional journey with a young five-year-old boy, who became a gentle giant with a mission in life. It was perfectly written. And they all lived happily ever after, and so did I. There are several videos and interviews available on Youtube which I still must watch. Can't wait.
It is not a story that you will easily forget. It's a miracle, really. I loved the tone of the book. The innocence of the little boy is so well portrayed and brings a charm to the book, which makes it authentic. It's really well-written. View all 33 comments.
Jan 05, Jennifer rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , stand-alone-novel , listened-to-audiobook , memoir-biography-autobiography , male-pov , read , book-to-screen. A Long Way Home is Saroo Brierley 's personal account of finding himself tragically lost from his family at the young age of 5 years old. His journey back to his birth mother 25 years later is a truly amazing story. The fact that he survived before and after being discovered as homeless is a miracle in itself.
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Despite my thoughts about the astonishing facts, I have mixed feelings about this reading experience. In my perspective, this memoir was very to-the-point and caused it to feel disappoint A Long Way Home is Saroo Brierley 's personal account of finding himself tragically lost from his family at the young age of 5 years old.
In my perspective, this memoir was very to-the-point and caused it to feel disappointingly one-dimensional. A little help with the writing and overall storytelling could have added personality and allowed this piece of nonfiction to pull at the heartstrings and keep the reader on the edge of suspense, because when you think about Saroo's experiences, those emotions are within reach.
I plan to watch the film adaptation: Lion and have no doubt it will more than make up for my lack of connection to the book. My favorite quote: "Today there are perhaps a hundred thousand homeless kids in Kolkata, and a good many of them die before they reach adulthood No one knows how many Indian children have been trafficked into the sex trade, or slavery, or even for organs, but all these trades are thriving, with too few officials and too many kids.
View all 12 comments. Jun 21, Sharon rated it it was amazing Shelves: borrowed-from-library , aussie-authors. At the age of five, Saroo an Indian boy becomes lost after after being separated from his brother. After traveling on a train for quite some time, Saroo ends up in Calcutta. Saroo is not only frightened and alone, but he is also faced with having to scavenge and beg for food for his survival. He has no idea of his surname or the village he comes from which make it extremely difficult to find his way back home. Life is looking very bleak for, Saroo and he worries if he'll ever see his family agai At the age of five, Saroo an Indian boy becomes lost after after being separated from his brother.
Life is looking very bleak for, Saroo and he worries if he'll ever see his family again. After being in an orphanage for some time, Saroo's life takes a turn for the better after being adopted by an Australian couple who take him to live in his new home in Hobart, Tasmania. His adoptive parents are wonderful and loving people who do all they can to make Saroo feel at home.
Even though Saroo has settled in very well with his adoptive parents he still thinks about he's family back in India. Will Saroo ever see his family again? What a remarkable story about never giving up. This was an inspiring and heartwarming story that I thoroughly enjoyed. View all 8 comments. Jan 29, K. Good Lord. This book is effectively two separate stories: 1. How Saroo got lost and ended up being adopted by an Australian family. Saroo's search for his home 20 years later.
The first story is horrifying when you think about all the ways that his story could have ended differently. The second is nothing short of astonishing. I'm pretty stinking excited to see the movie version now to compare the two. Although I think I'll hold off until I can watch it in the comfort of my own home with a very large box of tissues and no one to judge me for sobbing periodically View all 4 comments.
I found out about this book when I watched the trailer for the movie "Lion". The trailer had me in tears and then when I saw it was based on this true story, I knew I had to read this. First of all, it is an incredible and heartbreaking story. I can't even fathom how Saroo, a 5 year old Indian boy survived for weeks on the streets by himself. So many awful things could have happened to him but he was extremely lucky that no major harm came to him and he was even luckier to get ado 3.
So many awful things could have happened to him but he was extremely lucky that no major harm came to him and he was even luckier to get adopted by an amazing Australian couple. This story will blow you away and the story itself is reason alone to read this book. For the most part, Saroo Brierley was a great storyteller. He really told a comprehensive story about his life before he was separated from his family in India.
We got to know things about his siblings, his parents, the people that were in his community and all about his life. I enjoyed reading about his life and family in Australia too. I felt at times things were dragged out a bit too much though. The part about riding on the train journey again as an adult and the constant researching kind of bored me at times. I do feel conflicted regarding the way he wrote this memoir; I enjoyed it because it was comprehensive, detailed and logical but I kind of wish he wrote with more emotion.
Maybe it was hard for him to really convey past emotions or something but I just felt like there could have been more about his feelings and thoughts. I'm not saying that it wasn't emotional, it was, but I just wanted more. I wanted to feel more connected to Saroo. I know it's something small but it's just if the book version was wrong then what else in the book wasn't the actual truth? Just me being a particular Sally, I know, but it did kind of bother me! So overall, I liked this book. At times it was a little slow and there were a few redundant things in the book but I would definitely recommend this.
I will watch the movie soon and hopefully I will like it as much as I liked this. View all 6 comments. This is an extraordinary story, told by the person who lived it. First: The Writing. The words. The writing. In that way it captured me completely and continued thro This is an extraordinary story, told by the person who lived it. In that way it captured me completely and continued through to the very end.
Second: The Story. Saroo himself experienced the terrors and the bewilderment of finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time locked into a car on a train that ended up far from his home. He was 5 years old, and even mispronounced his name. That was his first piece of good luck.
Third: The Story, Part 2. Imagine being 5 years old, miles from anyone you know, in one of the most densely populated — and dangerous — cities in the world. The landmarks and directions of his home village and the town where he boarded the train were etched indelibly in his mind so he would be able to find it again if he could. Fourth: The Story, Part 3. Within a few short months, he found himself on an airplane to Australia and ultimately to Tasmania where his adoptive parents, Sue and John Brierly eagerly awaited him.
Fifth: The Story, Part 4. Saroo has nothing but love and respect in his tone and writing about his adoptive family. Nevertheless, his memories, always kept on a low simmer in the back of his mind continue to wait for him to softly breathe them back to life. Sixth: The Story, Part 5. Eventually, Saroo recognizes that he needs to try to find his birth family because his questions and concern about their welfare are always going to be a part of him. The timing is perfect as technology has supplied valuable tools primarily via Google Earth and Facebook that help him in his quest.
His family and his girl-friend are also supportive and this support mitigates the obsession to find his village to a compulsive level everyone can live with. Seventh: The Story, Part 6. The reunion with his family and his determination to take the same journey as his 5-year-old self are deeply moving and touching. He makes the trip a few times during the latter part of the book and one of those times his two mothers meet for the first time. The smiles, and tears, say it all. View all 24 comments. I discovered this book in the new section of books in Waterstones.
I had seen the trailer for the film, and I bought it really for the sheer hell of it. I'm glad I made that decision that day. This is a remarkable story of discovery, which in turn, has it's share of utter heartbreak and dispair as we are taken along Saroo's emotional journey. When five year old Saroo gets separated from his brother at a train station in India, he experiences a spontaneous moment, where he boards the train in fro I discovered this book in the new section of books in Waterstones. When five year old Saroo gets separated from his brother at a train station in India, he experiences a spontaneous moment, where he boards the train in front of him to find his brother.
This takes him on a huge journey, even further away from his family, and eventually without saying too much , he ends up being adopted by an Australian couple. What makes this story all the more harrowing and at the same time, inspirational, is that it's true. This is not fiction. This actually happened, and that for me, makes it all the more shocking. For me, what surprised me, was the length of time it took, or still takes, to adopt internationally.
Now, I can understand the legislation, interviews and endless amounts of paperwork, but five years is a long time.
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Adoptees, like Saroo's parents, don't go into this lightly. They go into it knowing it's a lifelong commitment, and they have a great deal of love to give. Being adopted myself, I can appreciate how long the process is, and the completely amazing and selfless act that these people go through, just to give a child a new and good life. I can greatly understand Saroo's quest to go and meet his birth Mother after all those years. I also think it is grand that he is able to share his love with his adoptive parents, and his birth Mother and maintain those relationships to a level that all are comfortable and happy with.
I think when you are adopted, you always wonder where you "Came from" Even though you love your adoptive parents to the moon and back, there is always this hole, that can never be filled. In this case, Saroo made the right decision to discover his roots again and to get answers to unanswered questions that had been gnawing away at him for 25 years. I have a lot of love for this book. View 2 comments. Jul 10, Brenda rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction , release , biography , own-read , read-on-kindle , aussie-authors , net-galley , arc.
When Saroo Brierley was born, he was born into poverty in a small town in India. His early childhood was happy in his memory. He and his siblings were always hungry, but that was a fact of life. They spent their days begging for food, eating scraps from the ground and doing the best they could.