I never thought that I would be treated like VIP and be protected by the Bangladeshi police. Bangladesh never invited me and I’m certainly not important in any way. Thus, it was such a huge honour to come in contact with honest and dedicated public servants in beautiful Bangladesh on two separate occasions.
First encounter- 9th December 2015
As the tuktuk raced towards the Holy Shrine of the Muslim Saint and founder of Bagerhat, it came to an abrupt stop. The police muttered something to Setu, my guide, then we were allowed in. Setu later told me that vehicles are not allowed into the area and must stay outside the gate which is around 3 minutes from the Shrine. Hooray for being a foreigner!
As I hopped off with my tripod , a group of men approached us ( some were in uniform and a few looked like officials).
“Madam, please sit here for a while. I’m asking a few of my men to come and escort you into the shrine.”
I just nodded then heard US, TRAVEL WARNING, FOREIGNER, BANGLADESH. Ok, so that is what all the overblown fuss is about. It was rather unnecessary since Bangladesh is ridiculously safe and no one would lash out at me.I’m a first-time visitor to the country and the people that I’ve met were all incredibly hospitable and welcoming.
Being the only foreigner and chatting with the local police drew the attention of many locals. They started to stand quite close to me. The police were rather nervous and kept me under their watchful eyes the entire time. They dispersed the crowd and after some 15 minutes, three policemen accompanied me into the site. They firmly held onto their guns and made sure that I was safe and out of any possible danger.
Second encounter- 13th December 2015
After a long and tedious train ride from Rangpur, it finally pulled into Dhaka Train Station. On the way out, I noticed a group of policemen standing close to the entrance. I was looking at them since I have a crush on uniforms. One of my childhood dreams was to be a part-time policewoman/bodyguard/ secret agent on top of being Indiana Jones. Once eye contact was made, Assalam Walaikum Sir! Ok…Allaahafez! popped out of my mouth and I walked away feeling all local and cool. Then after 20 seconds, the 5 policemen approached me and Setu.
There was no way out. Looks like another police escort. I felt guilty for wasting resources and manpower. Like their colleagues in Bagerhat, the Dhaka police were vigilant and asked me to sit inside their police van. Oh yes! I’m sure a bomb will go off and some locals will kidnap me for no reason (sigh, Bangladesh is so safe)- anywhos, did what they said and hopped into the back of their van.
I was hoping that the ride could be longer since it was thoroughly enjoyable. Before long, I arrived at my destination and it was time to say goodbye to the wonderful police escort….not without a nice photo of course!
My awful sentimental side kicked in .
Moved by the experience, I stood and watched them drove off into the distance.
Thank you for everything.