From beggar to Oz businessman, he returns home to find family
As a six-year-old, Sheru begged at Khandwa railway station for a living. One day, he got on a train to Burhanpur, accompanied by his elder brother. He overslept in the train, got separated from his brother, and found himself in Kolkata, where he went back to begging. But his life changed when he was rescued by an NGO, and subsequently adopted by a childless Australian couple.
Twenty-four years later, Sheru, now Saroo Brierley, is back at Ganesh Talai slum in Khandwa, having managed to track his family after a relentless search on internet, armed only with an old photograph and faded memories of childhood.
His family is still poor. "I was lucky to find my family,'' says the 30-year-old, admitting there is a communication problem. "There is some Hindi in my head but I have to observe their facial expressions and hand movements to make complete sense of what they say.''
Having studied business and commerce at the University of Canberra, he now runs an industrial shop in Hobart, Tasmania.
Saroo says his foster parents "were very supportive and encouraged me to find my real parents''.
"We tried to find him everywhere. All fortune-tellers claimed we would be reunited one day,'' says his elder brother, Kallu. The brother, who accompanied Sheru on the train ride, was found dead on the railway tracks near Burhanpur.
Saroo says he has no plans to return to his hometown, but hopes to visit his family frequently. He says he plans to make a movie on his past and present which "will have everything".