|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 14, Tuesday September 2, 2003|
Getting services twenty-four hours in Bangladesh is almost impossible from any field, whether restaurants, drug stores, or cab companies. However, the word 'almost' does imply that you might be able to receive some help from some people even if it is 3AM. Twenty-four hour services are growing in Bangladesh very slowly but we have reason to believe that there is hope. The trend is spreading. It would be insightful to have information in your hands about the companies and the category of services they provide. Therefore, here we are with an effort to provide you with information that might come in handy in moments of despair.
Imagine being sick at 3am. While the whole town is fast asleep, it is extremely difficult to get to a hospital at that time of the night. Hospitals are supposed to provide ambulances twenty-four hours. It is with grief that we observe the absence of such a service, as if people only get sick during the daytime. Government hospitals are even worse. They provide ambulances to shift internal patients only. To fill this vacuum, efforts are being taken by some private companies. Alif Ambulance at 89/2, Panthopath is one of them. They have only 6 ambulances but it is a good start. They reply to peoples' pleas even at the dead of night. Anywhere within Dhaka their charge is Tk. 500. Then there is Al Amin Ambulance and Day and Night ambulance. Both of these are situated at Panthapath and the charge is almost the same as Alif. Among major private hospitals, Shomorita at Panthopath, Holy Family at Ramna, Rushmono at Mogbazar and Monowara hospital near Viqarunnesa School provide 24-hour ambulance services. Their charge is less than the amount mentioned above. Apart from all these private efforts, there is one government effort from the Fire Service and Civil Defence Ambulance. Their service is very cheap. They take Tk.12 per kilometre.
Well, you might be able to get to a hospital after facing a great deal of hardship. However, imagine yourself in a situation where you have been prescribed with a certain medicine by your doctor, you always store it at home for emergency situations but unfortunately one night you need it urgently and discover that you are fresh out of that medicine. You might be ready to spend whatever amount it takes to buy that medicine but what if you can not find a single drug store open?
Unfortunately, that is often the case for the residents of Dhaka. Getting to a hospital at night might be difficult but it is even more difficult to get medicines, as drug stores remain closed at night. However, there is good news. Although very few in number, there are some drug stores which stay open 24 hours a day. Here is a little list of such drug stores. Lazz Pharma in Kalabagan is known to many. Then there is one adjacent to Gono Shastho Nogor Hospital. Among all the drugstores adjacent to PG hospital only M/S. A. M. (Drug) Store stays open at night. There are also two stores inside PG and BIRDEM hospital which stay open all night. Baby Pharmacy near Azimpur bus stand stays open at night. Some drugstores in front of major hospitals like DMCH, Sohrawardi, Rushmono, and Shishu Hospital try to keep up with these stores.
Now lets move on to some carefree issues. For Dhakaite's, eating out is one of the regular routines to spend the leisure time. Most of the time these occasions end way before midnight. But Suppose it is 2 in the morning, your tummy is growling and food is no where to be seen. The majority of the people of Dhaka are not that crazy to get out at night and look for restaurants. Well, if you are crazy enough to eat out at midnight to satisfy your growling tummy then you have very limited options open. White House at Shantinagar, an expensive restaurant, stays open all night. They also have a bar. You will find Café Taj and Three Stars at Mogbazar crossing open all night. You can go to some other cheap hotels as well. Almost all the hotels in Chankhar pool stay open at night. Hotels outside Gabtoli bus stand and Komlapur railway station also remain open, as there are always commuters coming in and out. At Shahbag circle, you will find some vendors who are making Paratha, omelette, and tea all night. It is on the streets and there is no place to sit but the food is always hot. These street side vendors mostly serve the people who are attending their close ones staying at PG hospital. Sometimes these vendors dissappear as police regularly chase them off. Eventually they reappear after the batons of police are gone.
Going somewhere at night is very risky. With all the scary elements hanging around at night most of the people avoid staying out late. But then again one day you have to go to the airport at midnight to pick someone up and you live very far from the place. You could go by cab if only they agree to take you there. Most cab companies claim that they have twenty-four hour service but it is not always so. Cosmo Cab Limited is one among the very few who will come to your assistance. You can call them by telephone. They will pick you up at home and take you to the airport, wait for half an hour there, and take you back to your residence. The charge for this service is only Tk.500. If you wait more than half an hour then the charge will be higher. Their number is 9112959 and 8127191.
Money is the root of all evil, they say. However, there are situations when you might need to refill your wallet late at night. We now have 24-hour banking as the problem solver. Three multinational banks now offer ATM service. They are Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, and American Express. Their ATM booths are situated all over the city. All you have to do is insert your ATM card and your wallet is refilled. If you do take this service, prepare yourself to meet night crawlers or muggers I would say. They also stay vigilant at night.
What if your cell phone breaks down when you need it most? Or maybe, the server of your Internet line is too slow. It shows "the page cannot be displayed" message on your screen. Different cellular phone companies and Internet service providers have arrangements for twenty-four hour technical support for their clients. They try to solve a limited portion of the problems.
If you are a person who is hooked in to books and enjoy being in a library whenever you can, then The Public Library at Shahbag is your only hope. From 9pm till 12am, you will have some company from other readers. Then steadily it will thin out. The rest of the night only around thirty people stay at the library. Many of them sleep on the benches using books as a pillow. Apart from the books, you can enjoy the company of police officers on duty, the beautiful sight of light and shade on trees, tea on the streets and paratha and omelette at Shahbagh circle.
Staying awake at night is not yet in our culture. Apart from the people in desperate need, only a few people are in the habit. Police and their all time partners the muggers are one group. Night guards also stay awake trying their best not to fall asleep. Then again, some bohemians enjoy just hanging around in empty Dhaka. They enjoy the sodium light on the Krishnochura tree, the blank look of the streets. If you belong to this group, this article might come in handy for you.
By Shahnaz Parveen
Check It Out
Nothing beats the ATF Exchanger for taking good care of your vehicle's automatic gearbox. Normal oil change methods leave a lot of sediment and metal particles behind. These build up over time and cause slow acceleration, shaking while shifting gears, overheating, excessive fuel consumption and most damaging, wear and tear of gearbox cogs.
The Exchanger drains the gearbox completely and fills it with fresh oil. Now available at Ace Workshop & Service Centre, 204/A Gulshan Tejgaon Link Road, Dhaka 1208.
Dhaka Sheraton Hotel is holding a month-long Hilsha & Prawn promotion to celebrate the Hilsha season, featuring a wide range of authentic Bangladeshi Hilsha & Prawn dishes in buffet-style and a la Carte.
Hilsha Shorisha, Prawn Do-Piaza, and our unique smoked Hilsha & Prawn Chowder - Sheraton's season celebration will be featuring all of these, which are delicately arranged and artfully presented. And while you are there you can also try their delicious traditional pizza being served at the Italia Bar & Bistro, because Dhaka Sheraton Hotel will also be holding a month long pizza promotion from August 25, 2003. The promotion will feature a great selection of authentic Italian Pizzas, like Al Fungi, Pizza Margherita as well as some gourmet delights, including their fusion Chicken Tikka Pizza! Not only can you order from the menu, but you can also create your own pizzas, by choosing ingredients like garlic, parmesan, olives, mozzarella, tomatoes, chicken, salami and many, many more. It's up to you! Savor a great selection of Italian Pizza and enjoy a FREE soup or salad or dessert!
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