When Saroo is first picked up by Calcutta authorities, all he can tell them about where he came from are these two place names, which he believes are his hometown and the train station where he boarded the train for Calcutta respectively. However, “Berampur” is a common place name in India that occurs in numerous different spellings, and authorities cannot find a “Ginestlay” anywhere. These two names in particular then come to represent the frustrating limits of Saroo’s childhood memory. It’s not until 25 years later that he finally unravels the mystery of these names—“Ginestlay” is the suburb Ganesh Talai in the town of Khandwa, and “Berampur” is the Burhanpur train station—and is able to add adult perspective and understanding to his childhood memories.
“Ginestlay” and “Berampur” Quotes in A Long Way Home
Once, a porter appeared to understand that I was lost, but when I couldn't immediately make myself understood, he made it clear I wasn't to bother him anymore. The world of adults was closed to me, so I continued to try to solve my problem by myself.
I told them what I could. They recorded my answers on their many forms and documents. "Ginestlay" meant nothing to them. I struggled to remember the name of the place where I'd boarded the train, but could only say that my brothers called it something like "Burampourr..."
...Khandwa Railway Station.
The name meant nothing to me.
My stomach knotted. How could this be?
Things had looked so right all the way from Burhanpur, which had to be the "B" town I had tried to remember. But if the bridge and the river were correct, where was "Ginestlay"?