Saroo Brierley, Lost Indian Boy, Finds Mother Using Google Earth 25 Years Later

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Saroo Brierley found his mother using Google Earth | Google Earth

A boy who lost his mother and was left stranded in the slums of Calcutta has found her 25 years later - with the help of Google Earth.

Saroo Brierley, who was five-years-old when he was separated from his older brother on a train journey, was adopted by a foreign couple and taken to Tasmania.

Despite not remembering the name of his hometown due to being illiterate, he managed to locate Khandwa by painstakingly trawling satellite images.

The 30-year-old, who told his unbelievable story to the Outlook programme on the BBC World Service, detailed how, while working as a sweeper on India's trains, he took a nap at the train station.


Saroo Brierley as a child

When he woke up to find his brother had gone, so he boarded the next train presuming he would find his sibling on board.

When left the train 14 hours later having arrived alone in Calcutta, India's third biggest city.

"I was absolutely scared," he told the BBC. "I didn't know where I was. I just started to look for people and ask them questions."

Saloo learned to fend for himself, surviving the slums until he was taken in by an orphanage and adopted by a Tasmanian couple.

Although he adapted to his new surroundings well, as he got older he became more determined to find his birth parents. He started to search Google Earth, with nothing but memories to guide him.

"It was just like being Superman," he recalled. "You are able to go over and take a photo mentally and ask, 'Does this match?' And when you say, 'No', you keep on going and going and going."

Eventually, Saroo multiplied the time he was on the train to Calcutta by the speed of Indian trains and came up with a 1,200km circumference in which he believed his hometown would be.

After discovering Khandwa, he made the journey to his neighbourhood of Ganesh Talai and after some enquiries was taken to his mother.

"She grabbed my hand and took me to her house," Saloo recounted. "She could not say anything to me. I think she was as numb as I was. She had a bit of trouble grasping that her son, after 25 years, had just reappeared like a ghost."

Filmmakers are now reportedly interesting in his transferring his amazing story onto the big screen.

Also on The Huffington Post

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