A Long Way Home

by

Saroo Brierley

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Shekila Character Analysis

Shekila is Saroo’s baby sister. Kamla is pregnant with her when Saroo’s birth father effectively leaves the family, and when Saroo is around four years old, he’s put in charge of caring for her. Because of the family’s extreme poverty, Shekila often tries to eat charcoal out of the fire and receives medical attention for the adverse effects of this. She’s about two years old when Saroo disappears. After Saroo is adopted, he asks often for Shekila and feels guilty for leaving Kamla to care for her alone. This is one of the reasons that Mum and Dad decide to adopt Mantosh. When Saroo returns to Khandwa as an adult and meets Shekila again, Shekila is married with two sons.

Shekila Quotes in A Long Way Home

The A Long Way Home quotes below are all either spoken by Shekila or refer to Shekila. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of A Long Way Home published in 2013.
5. A New Life Quotes

I was keen on the idea of having a sibling. In fact, it seemed that the person I missed most from India was my sister. "What do you want for Christmas?" my mum would ask me every year. "I want Shekila back," I often said.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker), Mum / Sue Brierley (speaker), Mantosh, Shekila
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire A Long Way Home LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Long Way Home PDF

Shekila Character Timeline in A Long Way Home

The timeline below shows where the character Shekila 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
...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 Saroo pulls... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...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, and Saroo quickly tells the man... (full context)
2. Getting Lost
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Saroo vividly remembers caring for his baby sister, Shekila. He's her sole caregiver when Kamla is away, working for days at a time. During... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...visiting when he is 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... (full context)
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
After Shekila’s birth, Kamla goes to work on building sites. She works six days per week for... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...only ten make it home unbroken. Kamla fries the eggs, and Saroo is jealous when Shekila receives the first one. Saroo steals it and races outside with it. Kamla never punishes... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
With Guddu and Kallu spending more time away, Saroo becomes very close to Shekila. Saroo becomes her primary caregiver when he’s around four, and they play and eat together.... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...not wanting to be left behind, insists he’s going with. Guddu agrees, and they leave Shekila alone. (full context)
5. A New Life
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...another child from India. Saroo is thrilled; he’d been saying for years that he wanted Shekila for Christmas. He explains that Mum was a wonderful mother to him, so the only... (full context)
10. Meeting My Mother
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...get inside, Kamla pulls out a cell phone and Saroo hears her calling Kallu and Shekila. She refers to Saroo as Sheru, and Saroo realizes he may have been mispronouncing his... (full context)
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...that she has to work hard for this house. A little while later, Kallu and Shekila arrive. Shekila bursts into tears upon seeing Saroo, and Kallu is stunned. Finally, Saroo asks... (full context)
11. Reconnection
Family Theme Icon
...they all happily and silently have tea until the crowds, Cheryl, and other translators arrive. Shekila soon arrives with her sons and husband. They’re all shocked that Saroo isn’t married with... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Saroo picks up a piece of charcoal and shows it to Shekila, who laughs. Saroo sees this as proof of how far the rest of his family... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...Guddu’s losses eventually caused him to move to Burhanpur. Saroo’s reappearance affects him deeply, and Shekila also struggles with what happened—though she sends her sons to school, she lives with the... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...his birth father was a building contractor. Kamla explains that when she was pregnant with Shekila, Saroo’s birth father took another wife (which he could do as a Muslim) and announced... (full context)
12. Reaching Out
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Shekila and Kallu join Saroo and Kamla, and Kamla makes her children sit in plastic chairs... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...story, he just has to accept them. For example, it turned out that Kallu and Shekila's fond memories of bathing together were the same memories that Saroo turned over as he... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...have children before she dies so he'll have someone to care for him. Kallu and Shekila express interest in visiting Australia to see where Saroo was raised and to meet his... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...him. Saroo explains to the reader that he wants to do the exact opposite. Saroo, Shekila, Kallu, and Kamla discuss how Saroo might help support Kamla in particular, as well as... (full context)
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Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Finally, the subject of Saroo’s birth father comes up. Kallu and Shekila are unforgiving of him, and they also blame him for Guddu’s death. Though Saroo understands,... (full context)
Epilogue
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Human Kindness Theme Icon
...so he’s looking to buy her a better home in Ganesh Talai. He, Kallu, and Shekila have found a place, but the paperwork takes time. Saroo says he’s also dedicating time... (full context)
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Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...though visiting India has certainly enriched his life. He admires the importance that Kallu and Shekila place on family, and he wonders if Westerners have lost something through the Western focus... (full context)