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15.3.12

Reunited: Saroo Brierley with his mother, whom he had not seen for 25 years after getting lost while begging 
An Indian orphan who lost his family while begging when he was just five has been reunited with them 25 years later - after spotting his home village on Google Earth.
Saroo Brierley was adopted by an Australian couple and taken to Tasmania where he became a successful businessman, even being dubbed ‘slumdog millionaire’.
He lost his Indian family while begging at Khandwa train station in west India with his older brother.
Mr Brierley accidentally boarded a train going in the wrong direction, before falling asleep and waking up 10 hours later on the other side of the country.
He said he spent a month trying to find his way back, almost drowning in the River Ganges and nearly being abducted by a man who intended to sell him as a slave.
He was placed in an orphanage before being adopted by Tasmanian parents. Mr Brierley now helps run their family industrial supplies business.
Today he told of how he spent a decade scouring Google looking for signs of his hometown.
'Using Google Earth, I spent so many hours zooming in and out looking for something I recognised,' he told the Tasmania Mercury.
From a vague memory of Khandwa train station and surrounding area, he was eventually able to find the area on Google Earth.
He then joined a Facebook group for his home town Ganesh Talai and managed to piece together the details by emailing members of the group.
He booked his plane ticket and went to the town, scouring streets until he found his family.
He said he never forgot where he came from and, three weeks ago, he returned to India find his family, reuniting with his mother Kamla.
'I kept in my head the images of the town I grew up in, the streets I used to wander and the faces of my family, I treasured those memories,' he said.
Mr Brierley said his mother told him of how they had searched endlessly after he went missing and saw fortune-tellers who told them they would one day be reunited.
However, the older brother who accompanied Mr Brierley on the train ride was found dead on railway tracks.
Mr Brierley said sometimes when he thought about his life he was amazed by everything that had happened.
'To this day, I still can't believe I managed to find my family, considering India's population size and how young I was when I lost them,' he said.
However, he also admitted that communicating with his new found family was difficult.
'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.'
Saroo, whose original Indian name is Sharu, says he has no plans to return permanently 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'.

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