Considering the fact that I only there for the better part of 8 months, it might be a little difficult to give it that honour but my vote for the town with most friendly people is Calicut. From the last week of July, 2002 till the end of March 2003 I lived in Calicut and I can’t remember any other time where it felt like everyone was my friend. I made a whole lot of friends while living there, mostly from work but the very fact is that the locals really helped out a lot of us who were from other cities.
The Calicut locals from the office that I became friends with went out of their way to ensure that the stay in their city was as good as possible for those of us who were renting rooms in lodges. Showing us the city, spending time with us, going to movies, hanging out at the beach and having food, inviting us to their homes to have home cooked meals which they knew that we were missing. Taking us to bus or train stations when we had to go back home for the weekend or coming back to Calicut. Picking us up on their bikes or cars if we needed a ride. Stuff like that.
Also a friend of a friend helped us quite a lot – a couple of us were renting out rooms in this lodge, and the owner’s son was a colleague’s friend. Not only did we get rents that were less than normal, when we had trouble paying the last 3 months’ rent, he never collected it from us. We had trouble getting our salaries from the company due to financial issues. He said that he was glad to help us and considered us friends of his. At the end of our stay he refused to take the full rent and took a discount – which we sent back to him a few months later once money was no longer an issue for us and we had settled in new jobs back home.
I’ll never forget the help of the people there without whom we would have struggled and probably even should have been chucked out into the streets. Calicut always holds a special place in my heart and if I didn’t live here in Cochin, I would want to move there.