On a Saturday afternoon back in 2012 I was sitting in a nail salon crying. I don’t usually cry while I’m getting a manicure, they’re just nails after all.
But I was reading a Vanity Fair story about a little boy called Saroo who lived in Hobart with his adopted parents and who had recently tracked down his birth mother in an obscure little village in India.
If you’ve seen the movie Lion, or read the book, A Long Way From Home, you already know this story.
If you haven’t, let me fill you in.
Sue tells Mia about the moment she first saw Saroo…
Saroo Brierley grew up as one of three children living in a tiny shed with their mother who collected rocks in a nearby quarry to try and support her young family. He was about six when he and his older brother went to a nearby train station to look for dropped coins to bring home to their mum. The boys became separated and Saroo ended up on a train, alone, thousands of miles away, unable to find his way back home.
He had further to travel.
All the way to Hobart in fact where he was sent from the Indian orphanage he’d eventually wound up in. He was only about five and his parents, Sue and John Brierley welcomed them into their home and their hearts with open arms.
“He had that little Qantas bag on his shoulder, he had that blob of melted chocolate in his hand. He had his Tassie T-Shirt on. And he had the biggest eyes you could ever imagine…and in her came – and I knew I just couldn’t rush up to him and hug him because I didn’t want to frighten him” Sue told me.