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.