A needle in a haystack


An Indian boy named Saroo was only four years old when his life changed dramatically. For his mother, it was the beginning of a nightmare that would last 25 long years.

Saroo lived with his mother and his three siblings in a small village in India. He often saw his mother cry because their life wasn't easy. One day, he went along with his brother Guddu, who now and then earned a little money sweeping out trains. After boarding the train, his brother left him alone, saying, “Just stay here and I'll come back.” Saroo decided to take a nap, figuring his brother would wake him up when he returned. But he didn't return. Instead, when Saroo woke up, he was all alone in the wagon and had no idea where he was!

Here’s a video about Saroo's amazing story:


Saroo was unable to read, write or count. He not only didn’t know the name of his home town, but he also didn't know what the region was called nor the name of his family. He had no way to contact his mother! At the tender age of four, Saroo found himself all alone, begging in the streets of Calcutta.

It didn't take long before a teenager noticed Saroo wandering the streets alone and brought him to a center for abandoned children. They took him in and soon after, Saroo was placed for adoption by the Indian Society for Sponsorship and Adoption. Fortunately, an Australian family adopted him and his life took a completely different and unexpected path, far from the struggle and danger he had known… but also far away from everything familiar, especially from his mother and siblings, whom he missed terribly!

Meanwhile, Saroo's mother back in India was looking everywhere for her missing boys. She tried contacting the authorities, but there was no trace of them. She was inconsolable with grief and cried daily.

In Australia, Saroo’s adoptive mother hung a map of India in his room to remind him of his roots. Every day, he woke up and saw the map of his home country and was haunted with questions: Where was his family? What had become of them? Would he ever see them again?



Saroo never stopped wondering. Many years later, as an adult, he started looking for his family using an unusual method... Google Earth! It was his only hope. He spent entire days zooming in and out of Calcutta’s surroundings, virtually walking down every alley, hoping to see something he recognized.

One day, he was amazed to come across a very familiar looking bridge near a factory by a river. That was it! The place where he had lost his brother! From that moment, the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. On the satellite images, he spotted a fountain where he had been injured 25 years earlier. Then, the ultimate revelation. The name of his village: Ganesh Talai.

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