I realized half a way that I was in the wrong route for the day! Well the reason is…. I will tell you later!
When I saw Mathieu for the first time, I realized that he doesn’t look like a complete foreigner! You know the typical idea or outlook that we think in foreigner’s? His hair is black and bread like a stylish Bangladeshi young boy.
He arrived on last night and had flight on the next day afternoon! We could not get enough time due to have time limitations. But also wanted to keep some memories that can be remind us about our small meeting. Couldn’t find any! Also in the morning I was already late for office but decided to start together for a short trip to Banani and roam around a bit!
To go to my office I usually take a short cut route (cantonment) to go to office easily. It’s an important information that foreigners are not allowed inside the cantonment areas in Bangladesh! If they want to get inside, they have to have special permission before their arrival. Which we definitely did not have that day! Also, I was running out of time because of my office starts exactly at 9:30 AM. If I could carefully think, I might not take him! But I was busy, leaving fast from home and carelessly took the wrong route. And get inside the cantonment with Mathieu!! Oh Damn! What would I do now?
First, we walked to Kazipara from my house, then took a rickshaw (costs 40 taka to Ibrahimpur Pul Par) from the bus stand after crossing footwear bridge and then start walking again. There was a point when I realized that Mathieu was not allowed inside the cantonment. Instead of becoming stressed I told him to stop talking and walk like nobody is watching you. I did not tell him the exact reason but he thought I was joking! I said being silent would be best option for him for the moment and he can get his explanation later. Then he said, “are you serious?”
Honestly, I didn’t want him to get stressed that might change his normal behavior! Because, Military people have that skill to read people’s mind when passers are scared! By spreading stress, I didn’t want the military police to change our route in that situation! I told him to hide his tattoos with my scarf and cover his face by my book! Hiding face was not unusual because the weather was sunny and others were doing the same.
He was hiding his face and we crossed many militaries on the way…at one point I took a rickshaw and four militaries came to ask the rickshaw puller some questions. Though Mathieu was hiding his face and I was behaving like looking at my phone but from inside my heart was beating fast. That time I thought they will catch and send us back. By that time, we reached very close but …I was trembling and an unwanted fear but madness higher my energy! They let us go from the signal and again we were relieved for few minutes. I was sure that we could make it but again, we found another military police and he saw Mathieu’s tattoo with my book on his face! I was like “No…not again”! Wisely I covered his hand and behave like a couple walking and sharing something in the phone. That was the last few minutes when we had to cross the final check point! We still were not talking and he was like “aren’t we done”? My answer was “no we are in the most crucial point and we have to cross with 120% confidence” He was like “really!! Is that hard to walk here?” I said “shut up and follow me”
We were just few minutes ahead and then found another military!! Well, people always can’t be so fortunate! He looked at us and then went busy with some other guy who was more suspicious than us.
Oh God! We crossed finally and told Mathieu that yes, we have done it! Later we walked to my office and we found ourselves thirsty by then.
I punched my card, dropped laptop for making others feel that I was in the office. I escaped silently and met him waiting for me in the downstairs. We took a rickshaw and went to Crimson Cup, Banani 11! We had Caramel Latte and according to him that was the first proper coffee in last two weeks in Bangladesh. Well you should thank me for that!!
Before arriving to there, I already communicated with a teacher of Vivid school in Korail slum. I wanted Mathieu to see the schools where kids learn to smile and dream for a better future. He played imitation game, taught some basic French for greetings and share some good vibes with the kids. Later we visited Jaago Foundation school and explored! He named that the five-star school in slum!
He had to catch his flight and get his bag from my home! So, he grabbed an Uber moto after having a lemonade in Jatra Birtori, a traditional restaurant. Though we couldn’t spend enough time but trust me our memory was priceless with 30 minutes adventurous walk inside a prohibited area! The excitements, Goosebumps, tensions and stress made that journey extremely fun that suits both of us. Before I conclude, I must say that Mathieu, you owe me an adventure in France! I am sure you will!