A Long Way Home

by Saroo Brierley

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

A Long Way Home is an inspirational, true story of a young man who rediscovers his childhood life, his home, and an identity that he lost years ago. Saroo Brierley, an impoverished, five-year-old, inadvertently loses his family at a railway station in Burhanpur (India). He ends up alone on a train that takes him to Kolkata, a thousand miles away from home. He spends five harrowing months on the streets of Kolkata, a juvenile home, and an orphanage. Eventually, an Australian couple adopts him and takes him to Tasmania.

Twenty-five years later comes the implausible twist in the tale. Saroo, in his mid-twenties, learns Google Earth's 3-D mapping program. With a handful of memories and loads of dedication, he searches for images that may correspond to his long-lost birthplace. He figures that he may have been on the train for twenty-four hours, multiplies the number by the speed of trains in the 1980s, and narrows his search to a specific radius around Kolkata. After five years, he locates his hometown, Khandwa, and sets off to find his family, half a world away. Saroo's reunion with his biological mother is not easy, as language is a barrier between them. Saroo's mother does not know English, and Saroo remembers little Hindi. They communicate using gestures, expressions, and tears.

A Long Way Home is a tale of trials, tribulations, and triumph. It is one man's story about finding closure. It is a celebration of hope, love, and perseverance. It reminds us that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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