A Long Way Home

by

Saroo Brierley

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Guddu is Kamla’s oldest son. As a child, Saroo looks up to him and desperately wants to be like him. At a very young age, Guddu begins trying to find work, though he’s arrested at one point for violating child labor laws. He and Kallu often spend days at a time away from Khandwa. Saroo accompanies Guddu to “Berampur” on the day they both disappear. While Saroo unwittingly boards the train to Calcutta, it’s unclear what exactly happened to Guddu—he may have been pushed or simply been distracted, but a train runs him over. Several weeks later, authorities discover his mutilated body on the train tracks. Though he is buried in a cemetery, developers eventually build right over the graves and Saroo struggles with not being able to visit his brother’s grave.
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Guddu Character Timeline in A Long Way Home

The timeline below shows where the character Guddu appears in A Long Way Home. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
...and Saroo points to the abandoned house and lists the people who lived there: Kamla, Guddu, Kallu, Shekila. He points to himself and says his name. The woman is silent until... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...Saroo again recites the names of his family members: his birth mother, Kamla; his brothers, Guddu and Kallu, and his sister, Shekila. In English, the man asks how he can help,... (full context)
2. Getting Lost
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...four years old to see his father’s new baby. Kamla gets Shekila, Saroo, Kallu, and Guddu up and dressed early to take a day-long journey by bus and on foot. The... (full context)
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...for a tiny amount of money, and is often away for days at a time. Guddu begins working at age ten, and the family survives by begging from neighbors. Saroo occasionally... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...razor blade. Fortunately, the procedure is over in seconds. Kallu is circumcised next, but not Guddu. The neighborhood feasts that evening, but Kallu and Saroo sit on the roof in just... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...get to eat full meals during celebrations. They also find food at the Saturday market. Guddu, being the oldest, feels responsible for his siblings’ survival, so he begins selling toothbrush kits... (full context)
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...and Saroo loves her cooking. He feels hungry most of the time. He, Kallu, and Guddu become increasingly more creative about obtaining food as time goes on, knocking fruit out of... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...to finances. He speaks poorly as a result. As Saroo and his brothers get older, Guddu and Kallu begin spending more time away from “Ginestlay.” Saroo spends time with Baba, who... (full context)
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
With Guddu and Kallu spending more time away, Saroo becomes very close to Shekila. Saroo becomes her... (full context)
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Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
At fourteen and twelve, Guddu and Kallu spend most of their time away, often at a town a few stops... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Saroo is thrilled as he heads off with Guddu on a bike. He’s tired by the time they board a train, and the adventure... (full context)
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
When Saroo wakes, there’s bright sunlight outside. The train is moving, and he can’t see Guddu anywhere. He finds the doors to the carriage locked, and he begins to panic. He... (full context)
3. Survival
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...is a matter of life and death. Saroo feels terrified and wonders what happened to Guddu. He cries for a while and then vows to do his best to survive, as... (full context)
4. Salvation
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
...how people are in the big city. Not long after, Saroo meets a teenager about Guddu’s age. The teenager approaches Saroo and patiently asks him his name. They talk for a... (full context)
10. Meeting My Mother
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...Shekila bursts into tears upon seeing Saroo, and Kallu is stunned. Finally, Saroo asks about Guddu. He wants Guddu to know that he doesn’t blame him for what happened, and he’s... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Saroo learns later that Kamla had been annoyed that Guddu took Saroo, but it took her a week to become worried. A month after their... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...much his life has changed in the last few hours, and thinks a lot about Guddu. He believes that Guddu didn’t just fall; he was too confident navigating the trains. He... (full context)
11. Reconnection
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...sees this as proof of how far the rest of his family have come: with Guddu and Saroo gone, Kamla had been able to afford to send Shekila and Kallu to... (full context)
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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Life hasn’t been easy for Kallu, however. Following Guddu’s death, he was shouldered with the burden of being the only man in the family.... (full context)
12. Reaching Out
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Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
...comes up. Kallu and Shekila are unforgiving of him, and they also blame him for Guddu’s death. Though Saroo understands, he doesn’t feel the same. He feels as though his father... (full context)
13. Returning
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...a child, it’s now very clean. Saroo studies the opposite platform, sure that it’s where Guddu left him and where he boarded. (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
...rushes by at full speed—trains don’t slow down at stations in India. Saroo wonders if Guddu died doing the same thing the chai man just did. He thinks that despite the... (full context)
Epilogue
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...at the time. He thinks he has no regrets about how things transpired, except for Guddu’s death, and he’s constantly shocked by the fortuitous twists, turns, and coincidences that led him... (full context)