A Long Way Home

by

Saroo Brierley

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“Ginestlay” and “Berampur” Symbol Analysis

“Ginestlay” and “Berampur” Symbol Icon

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

The A Long Way Home quotes below all refer to the symbol of “Ginestlay” and “Berampur”. 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.
2. Getting Lost Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker)
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
4. Salvation Quotes

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..."

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker)
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
9. Finding Home Quotes

...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"?

Related Characters: Saroo Brierley (speaker)
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Ginestlay” and “Berampur” Symbol Timeline in A Long Way Home

The timeline below shows where the symbol “Ginestlay” and “Berampur” appears in A Long Way Home. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Remembering
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...the map. He knows that somewhere in that huge place is where he came from, "Ginestlay," though he doesn't know if "Ginestlay" is a city, village, or a street. He also... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...able to explain that he's not actually from Calcutta; rather, he boarded a train from "Berampur," a station near "Ginestlay." When Saroo arrives in Australia, however, everyone focuses on the future,... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
...and marks Calcutta on their map. A few months later, Saroo tells her he's from "Ginestlay," and not long after that, he tells a teacher a more complete version of his... (full context)
2. Getting Lost
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...new home, he’s afraid of the spiders. He believes he lives in a town called “Ginestlay,” which is hot and dry except during monsoon season. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...Saroo and his brothers get older, Guddu and Kallu begin spending more time away from “Ginestlay.” Saroo spends time with Baba, who he thinks of as more of a father than... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...their time away, often at a town a few stops down the train line called “Berampur.” They occasionally take Saroo with them when he’s four or five, and Saroo begs for... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...board a train, and the adventure doesn’t seem as fun anymore. Finally, when they reach “Berampur,” Saroo insists he needs to sleep. Guddu tells Saroo to stay put and promises to... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...frightened by the crowds, and nobody seems to even notice him as he calls out “Ginestlay, Berampur?” Several people stop to see if they can help, but nobody understands “Ginestlay.” It... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...to take the next train from his platform, reasoning that it should head back to “Berampur.” It turns around in a smaller town and heads back to the massive station after... (full context)
4. Salvation
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...Saroo questions about who he is and where he’s from. They have no idea where “Ginestlay” is. Finally, they declare that Saroo is lost. After this, they take him to a... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...him that he’ll live in her orphanage, called Nava Jeevan, while she tries to find “Berampur.” She buys him a banana when he asks, and Nava Jeevan turns out to be... (full context)
7. Growing Up
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...all want to find his hometown. He reminds them that even the authorities couldn’t find “Ginestlay” or “Berampur,” but this doesn’t deter them. Saroo believes he was on the train for... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
...works for Indian Railways, so he asks if she’d ask her father for help locating “Berampur” or “Ginestlay” stations. A week later, her father suggests a Kolkata suburb called Brahmapur, a... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...to find things on than it is today. Saroo searches for many different spellings of “Ginestlay” and “Berampur” with little success. His memories of the layout of his town, however, remain... (full context)
8. Resuming the Search
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
...dry, and there was a railway station, a bridge, and a water tower at the “Berampur” station where he boarded the train. Finally, Saroo decides to trace the train tracks from... (full context)
9. Finding Home
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...just outside the station. It looks just like the road Saroo always looked at from "Berampur." He zooms out; the town’s name is Burhanpur. Saroo doesn’t recognize the town itself, though... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
...finds the familiar park fountain, and then he traces his way “home.” There’s nothing marked “Ginestlay” on the map, but he locates a building he’s sure is his childhood home. After... (full context)
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Finally, Saroo thinks to ask about a suburb in Khandwa that might sound like “Ginestlay.” The heart-stopping answer comes from Rochak a day later: there’s a suburb called Ganesh Talai,... (full context)