Thank God for Safa tempos
Another Wednesday morning, another day to start with. I got up at around 6, rubbing my painful eyes that had experienced sleep just 3 hours ago, and then started getting ready for college. Due to the current status of the country regarding the fuel shortage, I was not sure how I was going to reach my college because my bike had been gathering dust since 3 days.
Nonetheless, I tucked my earphones in and walked up to Mitrapark. My destination was Gwarko. Even after about 30 minutes of waiting, there wasn’t sign of a single bus. And even when one did come, it was packed to the door and all it did was leave a trail of thick black smoke over my face as it passed by. I had to reach the college by 8 and it was 7.30 already. That was when I saw a three wheeled box of tin painted white coming my way. A Safa tempo. I thought why not take an indirect route from Mitrapark to Baneshwor, and then to Gwarko. So I waved my hand, stopped it, hopped on the back seat and sat down.
One of the things that I find weird about tempos is that everyone can see each other’s faces. That’s not the case in a micro bus.
Later, as the tempo approached the CA building, I got off. All this time, I had my earphones tucked in and just two songs had played. “Okay, that was fast”, I said to myself. Just 8 minutes and I was at New Baneshwor.
Next, I walked a bit further and got on to a tempo that went to Gwarko. As I have always been of the curious sort, I always wondered what that the little electronic sound was when a tempo accelerates. We have all heard it, right? I wanted to ask the driver and he told me that it was a sign that the engine was running and that there is a little delay in the accelerator, as the tempo had an automatic gear change system (no clutch).
I then asked the driver about the day to day routine of a tempo, and he revealed that tempos are run by batteries which are charged in the garage with which they can run for up to 5-6 hours. At around middle of the day, when the battery starts to get low, he takes the tempo to his garage where another battery is already charged up. He puts that in and leaves the other one for charging. In this way he is able to complete 8-9 trips a day. The earning is decent he says with which he is currently sustaining his family. I said, “If it were not for these Safa tempos this fuel crisis would’ve been much worse.” He said, “Yes, that’s true.”