One day, Guddu took Saroo on a road he’d never seen before, to a factory where Guddu had heard that they might be able to steal eggs. He didn’t know the name of the town he lived in or his family’s surname.
As the boys made their way out of the coop—holding their shirts like hammocks, full of eggs—two security guards came after them, and they were separated. But he had a keen sense of direction and paid attention to his surroundings.
While he was crossing the train tracks, a man approached him, wanting to know what Saroo was up to. The man gave him a place to sleep and the next day told him that a friend was going to come over and help him find his family.
“I want to go back to Burhanpur,” he told the man—the only city name he knew. On the third day, while the man was at work, the friend showed up.
Saroo told him he looked like the famous Indian cricket player Kapil Dev.
He played barefoot under the downpour as trains passed nearby.When he woke, sunlight was streaming through the windows and the train was moving quickly through the countryside. Unable to move to another carriage while the train was in motion, Saroo ran back and forth through the car, calling for his brother, to no avail.Saroo had no idea how long he had been asleep and jumped up from his seat. He had no food, no money, and no idea how far he had gone or was going.With night falling he rode back to the busy train station.Saroo saw what seemed to be a sea of homeless men, women, and children. He didn’t know it at the time, but he had ended up in Calcutta’s main train station.