Some movies stay with me for longer than others. Given I can barely remember where I left my keys since giving birth, it’s amazing that I’m still thinking about Lion four months after I saw it.
The scene that really got to me was when Saroo, a five-year-old boy, was lost in a very busy train station in India. He was trying to get the attention of the person in the ticket office, presumably to say I’m lost, please help me. But the adults in the line just kept pushing him out of the way. No one would help him. I found that amazing and, as a mum, heartbreaking.
I wasn’t the only one bawling in the cinema, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Thank God I wasn’t pregnant. There should have been a warning on the door saying hormones and Lion do not mix.
After the movie, I wanted to rush out of the cinema and change the world. But life took over.
Listen to the full episode of Mia Freedman’s No Filter with Sue Brierley, of Lion, here. Post continues after audio…
In moments of extreme mess and heightened emotion following a particularly fussy feeding session, I would yell at my son Leo about how lucky he is to have food. Pointing out that he should be grateful rather than throwing it on the floor.
I’m not sure his two-year-old brain understood what I was saying. He was probably just thinking, ‘mum usually gives up just after she yells. I wonder what piece of fruit I’ll get’.
The truth is, I was taking my frustration out on Leo. I was feeling guilty about all my privileges and those that I can give my son. It didn’t seem right that we have so much and others have so little. I didn’t know what to do with that guilt and worry. I wanted to do more than just give money to international aide.
As if to rub salt into the wound, my friend Thérèse shared a video from her travels in the Philippines on Facebook. It showed a little boy walking the streets of Manila. He was a toddler, just like Leo. He was half-naked and dragging a battered wheelie suitcase. He was going up to people, reaching out to them. He was trying to ask for help, for food. But he couldn’t talk yet. Where were his parents?
When I asked Thérèse, she said he didn’t have anyone in the world. The suitcase he was dragging with him was his bed.