Saroo Brierley was born Sheru Munshi Khan in a central part of India that is quite rural.
Like many children in India, Saroo and his family were completely impoverished. His father left the family for another woman, leaving Saroo’s mother to be the sole provider.
Saroo’s mother would often leave her children for days so she could haul rocks at construction sites miles away for less than a dollar per day.
Her children were forced to beg and steal food.
One night while at the local train station with his older brother begging, five-year-old Saroo waited for his brother on a bench.
He recalls falling asleep for a brief time, then waking up and not being able to find his brother. Saroo climbed onto the train, thinking his brother could be scavenging.
In fact, no one was on the train. Being late at night, Saroo found a seat and was just going to relax but unexpectantly fells asleep.