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Google Earth Helps Indian Man Find Family And Village After 25 Years

Posted: 03/16/2012 11:05 am Updated: 03/19/2012 12:19 pm

Saroo Brierley

An Indian man who lost his family while begging as a child has been reunited with them after more than two decades -- after spotting his home village on Google Earth, the Mercury reports.

Twenty five years ago, Saroo Brierly was begging at a railway station in Khandwa, India, with his brother. He boarded a train that happened to be going the wrong way and fell asleep.

Nine hundred miles and 10 hours later, Saroo, who was then known as Sheru, woke up on the other side of the country.

He was five years old at the time.

According to the Daily Mail, the little boy spent a difficult month trying to find his way back home. He almost drowned in the River Ganges and nearly got abducted by a man who wanted to sell him as a slave.

Thankfully, Sheru's life was about to take a turn for the better. According to the Indian Express, Brierly was placed in an orphanage run by an NGO after he was found begging on the streets of Kolkata and was soon adopted by an Australian couple who brought him to Tasmania.

Now 30 and a successful businessman, Brierly told the Daily Mail that despite the years that have passed, he has never forgotten where he came from.

"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," Brierly, who began searching for his natural family about a decade ago, said.

With a vague memory of the Khandwa railway station and the surrounding areas, Brierly spent the last few years scouring Google Earth images of the region.

"I spent so many hours zooming in and out looking for something I recognized," Brierley told the Mercury.

Finally, he spotted an area in Khandwa that fit in perfectly with his childhood memories -- the village of Ganesh Talai.

Three weeks ago, he boarded a plane and went to his home village, searching the streets for his family. Incredibly, he found them, still very poor and living in the Ganesh Talai slum of Brierley's childhood,

Brierley's mother, Kamla, and brother, Kallu, told the Indian Express that they had searched endlessly for Brierley after he went missing and saw fortune-tellers who told them that they would one day be reunited.

"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 told the Daily Mail.

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Filed by Dominique Mosbergen  |