Life came full circle for Saroo Brierley when he spotted the village he was born in on Google Earth and found his birth mother and family after 25 years.
Brierley spoke about the search power of Google and how it changed his life at a Google Brunch session titled IT is as Good as You Want IT to be as part of Kolkata Literary Meet (KLM) 2014 at La Martiniere for Boys on Monday.
“Life has changed quite dramatically from being a normal person — which I still am — to being open to meeting new people and my story sort of going around the globe, educating people that such miracles do exist. I am hoping that my story educates others and empowers them. If there is someone out there who is perhaps lost, he or she can use my strategies to find their way home,” said “Google Boy” Brierley, who is going to Khandwa next week to buy his 64-year-old mother a house and “give her a bit of life”.
The session was also attended by graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee and entrepreneur-writer Parthajeet Sarma of Smart Phones, Dumb People? fame. “Now you don’t always have to be somewhere to know about something. Everybody gets to know about everything — whether in Purulia, Scotland or Berlin. Feeling the pulse of things that are going on is a good thing,” Banerjee said.
Sarma was quick to warn: “If you are online today, Uncle Obama will know where you are and what you are doing. Our lives are up there.”
The interactive session discussed, as anchor and novelist Samit Basu put it, “living in a world where a part of our mind is stationed on the Internet”. From the language of the web to piracy, questions were in plenty. “As an author if I see my book getting pirated, I would, of course, lose out on money but (also) reach a far wider audience, which gives a sense of feeling that I have arrived,” Basu said.
“It’s a very relevant topic. Internet is something we cannot ignore and must adapt to because we cannot wait for the Internet to adapt to us. It’s a resource for students and, as teachers, we can guide them to use the Internet the correct way,” said Sadeqa Rahman, a teacher of La Martiniere for Boys who was in the audience.