Recently I have returned in Dhaka after staying almost a month in Delhi, India. I am going to share my experience of staying a month on India. This is continuation of sharing my experience from my month long stay in Delhi, India. If you have not read earlier parts, you may read Part 1 and Part 2.
8. Low cost for COVID test
While planning to visit India, one of the major concerns for us was COVID situation in India and COVID test for international travel. Earlier my family members had to take COVID test on several occasion which had cost around BDT 3,000 to 3,500 per test. For government facilitated COVID test takes nearly BDT 100 but this testing arrangement is very limited. And of course, there is delay in report delivery in case of govt. facilitated testing. For earlier and convenient testing, most of us have to go to private arrangements which have very high cost despite the testing facility is increasing gradually. Anyhow, for traveling to India, we took COVID test from ICDDR.B at BDT 3,000 per person. We were able to fly to India without any difficulties using these test reports. However, once we took my mother to Fortis hospital, she had to take another COVID test. However, here the test costs only INR 700 which is nearly BDT 820. I was surprised to see the testing cost is so low despite being a very prominent hospital. I heard there are some hospitals in India which cost COVID test below 100 Indian Rupees. When we were returning to Dhaka, we needed COVID test for airport. But we were very busy to spare time. We decided call some testing service providers which collect samples from home. They collected samples in the morning and received the test report in the evening. For this service we had to pay 1200 rupees per person which is around 1400 taka. This very low cost compared to test price in Bangladesh. Despite the costing facilities has increased significantly but test cost has not decreased. Our government should do something about it so that more people come under testing coverage.
9. Missing the sounds of Azan
Being a Muslim in a Muslim majority country, I never missed a day without hearing the sounds of Azan. I have been to other countries as well as in India before. But I have never missed the sound of Azan like I did during my latest stay in India. Earlier my visit was for short duration and I was too busy to miss the sound of Azan. This time I stayed for a long period and had spare times to miss. I was so used to the sound of Azan in Bangladesh that I actively searched for mosques when I noticed that I haven’t heard Azan in India. Unfortunately, I didn’t have mosques near to my hotel. One morning I was up for my Fazar prayer I heard a very low frequency sound of Azan from a distant mosque. I felt little blissed hearing the sound of Azan. Later I noticed that I can only hear a low peached sound at the down when the surrounding is very clam. Rest of the day I was eagerly waiting for the sound of Azan. I wish stayed in hotel near to any mosque.
10. Abundance of Parrots, pigeons and squirrels
I had the opportunity to visit many places and areas of India. One thing I found very common in every place was abundance of small animals and birds. To be more specific, Parrots, pigeons and squirrels. Every place had a large flock of pigeons. There are some areas designated for feeding pigeons.
Another common bird was parrot. In every historic places and open fields, there are many parrots. I have not seen these many parrots in long time since I was a child and lived in my native village. When paddy was harvested at summer and there were ripe mangos in the tree, we used to see flocks of parrots are flying around and eating the ripe fruits from tress and grains of paddy.
I also seen lots of squirrels running around tree branches and jumping from one tree to another. These squirrels are small in sizes and runs very fast with their long bushy tails. If you stand beside a tree for a few minutes, you can surely expect to see one or two squirrels jumping around. It might come to you in search of food. If you toss some foods, these might jump on you.
India is very conservative about small animals and birds. Indian states and district authorities make sure that people and the cityscape doesn’t harm these birds and animals. I have seen circles of the road is preserved for birds including pigeons, doves and other birds. People can sand and feed them. It is totally unthinkable in Bangladesh as most of the people with try to capture those birds and sell them in the market. People will also eat the pigeons let alone feeding them in the wild. I am really amazed to how Indian states and its citizen has created a sanctuary for these small creatures.