#FriendshipFriday: Ann's story

Have you ever surprise-visited a friend? Gone through a long and arduous journey just to see a smile on your friend's face? For this week's #FriendshipFriday we wish to share Ann's story. Yuujou community member Ann lives in Kerala, India. She decided to take her first solo trip to Ooty, a famous hill resort in Tamil Nadu, to surprise her best friend! Ann travelled for more than 16 hours in bus to meet Shilpa, her friend from medical school. Why, you ask? Because, Ann says, "Some friends are worth this."

Here is her story: 

My name is Ann Shaji Mathews. I am from Kollam, Kerala, India. My friend's name is Shilpa Koshy, and she is from Ooty, Tamil Nadu (another state in India). We became friends when we joined a residential school in Thrissur, Kerala for preparing for our medical entrance exams. Shilpa and her roommates took me in as their 4th roommate and we've been best friends ever since (since 2011). 

We got into different colleges for medicine. Shilpa would always call me to Ooty, which is a popular hill station. But we couldn't make it happen because of our different universities and exam schedules. So during my third year of med school, I told myself, "Ann, it is now or never."

I ended up taking my first solo journey, by bus, to a state where I don't even know the language! But thanks to my friend Anna, I managed to get a bus to Ooty from Coimbatore (both cities are in the same state!)

Now about my travel and the surprise:

I called up Shilpa's mom and checked whether she is coming home from Mysore that weekend (April 27th, 2018), and whether I could come over to Ooty for a short stay. We thought of making it a surprise, and Shilpa's sister Sneha joined our plan, too. 

28th April, 21.00: Me and my friend Aleena are frantically using Google Maps to find the route to my bus boarding location, because we got lost visiting a new cafe in Trivandrum. Thanks to her driving skills and a shortcut, I reach at 21.13 for a bus leaving at 21.15! Unfortunately, the bus gets delayed because of some engine trouble, and I start my journey at 22.00. 

29th April, 00:00: Our bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere in Tamil Nadu, and we have to board another bus at 1:00 in the morning. I reach Coimbatore around 5:00, and wait for my friend Anna to pick me up.

I was finally halfway there! But because I didn't know Tamil, I just stayed exactly where the bus people dropped me. Luckily, my friend was able to find me. I had breakfast in one of the best restaurant in Tamil Nadu, I tried Anna's favorite mango milkshake, and my favorite Tamil breakfast Pongal. Anna then helped me with the tickets and the long queue for getting on a bus to Ooty - instead of waiting for 2 hours in queue, she talked to the bus driver and convinced him to give me a seat in a bus which was leaving in 2 mins! 

Meanwhile Shilpa was at the church with her mom and sister. They both texted me throughout the uphill journey so that I wouldn't miss their location.

After the church service, Sneha, Shilpa's sister, tricked Shilpa into going to a grocery store near my drop off location, saying she needed ice cream. But my bus got stuck in traffic! So she again convinced Shilpa to take an auto rickshaw back home and made her wait for the auto. Luckily, our mission was accomplished when Sneha saw me inside of that bus. 

I finally reached Ooty at around 14.00. I had traveled more than 16 hours through bus breakdowns and traffic congestions, just to get the above expression. Some friends are worth this.

This journey gave me so much happiness and confidence. Later on, I traveled with Aleena and two other friends all the way from Trivandrum (one tip of Kerala) to Wayanad (almost the other tip) for two days. Just four girls making a sudden decision - one night we are at four different places, and next day we are all joining from different railway stations to go to Kochi, Wayanad and Kozhikode. We had so much fun - zip lining, exploring streams and visiting the famous Edakkal caves.

Inspired by this story?
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  • Aleena, June 15

    Cheers to more journeys like this❤️❤️

  • Corinne, June 14

    What a lovely surprise! 🤗