Who is Baldeo in The Tiger in the Tunnel by Ruskin Bond?

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Baldeo is the main character in this great and terribly sad short story. He is a married man and a father of two children. He has a daughter and a 12-year-old son named Tembu.

Baldeo and his family are not wealthy, and they live near a forest in India. Baldeo provides for his family in two ways. He works their small rice field but is forced to supplement the remainder of the family's income by working for the railroad. He is one of the line's watchmen, and his job is to make sure that the railway track through a nearby tunnel stays clear. There is also a signal lamp that he tends to.

Baldeo is a hard working man, as evidenced by the long hours he puts in to ensure that his family has enough to eat. We also know that he cares deeply for the safety of his son. That is why Baldeo doesn't have Tembu accompany him to check the tunnel and the lamp. Baldeo knows that the jungle can be a dangerous place, and he has been hearing stories of a man-eating tiger. I believe that it also has to be said that Baldeo is quite brave. He knows that the tiger has him cornered; however, Baldeo doesn't panic. Instead, he bravely squares off against the tiger, knowing there is little chance for winning.

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In short, Baldeo is the main character in The Tiger in the Tunnel.  He lives in a village just outside of a jungle in India.  Even though Baldeo has a small plot of land in order to grow rice and other plants, he still needs to support his family further; therefore, he works as a watchman for the railroad.  Baldeo’s main job is to keep the signal lamp lit (and keep the tunnel free of obstacles) so that the train can safely make it through the tunnel and deliver the mail.  In order to do this job, Baldeo needs to take shelter in a little hut by the tunnel.  Baldeo is very skilled with his one weapon: an axe. Unfortunately, one night a tiger appears.  Even though Baldeo is able to dodge the tiger for a while (and even partially sever its leg), Baldeo’s axe gets embedded in bone, which renders the weapon useless.  With no weapon to speak of, Baldeo is killed by the tiger.  Baldeo’s job is then passed down to his son, Tembu.

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