Who was Baldeo? What do you know about his family? What was Baldeo's duty?
In the short story "The Tiger in the Tunnel" by Ruskin Bond, Baldeo is a poor man who supplements the meager income from his paddy farm by working for the railroad. He is a watchman for the railroad, and his job is to check that there are no obstructions on the track and then to flag trains safely through a long tunnel. Baldeo does this job every night regardless of the weather or the danger from ravenous jungle animals.
Baldeo lives in a hut about three miles from the railroad tunnel where he works. His family consists of his wife, his daughter, and a 12-year-old son named Thembu. To protect himself on the long dark walk to the tunnel and at the tunnel entrance, Baldeo carries a sharp axe. In the past, he has used the axe to kill a large boar.
As the story opens, it is a cold evening and Baldeo is preparing to leave for his work at the railroad. His son wants to come with him, but Baldeo does not agree because he does not want to expose his son to the night chill. Baldeo struggles to get up and then sets off on the long walk alone. Although he is aware of the wild animals stalking prey in the jungle, he has never encountered them. This night, he hears an unusual sound in the distance. Soon a tiger approaches and attacks Baldeo. Although Baldeo fights valiantly and wounds the tiger, the tiger eventually kills him. Because the tiger is wounded, though, it does not notice the train and gets hit and killed by it.
Thembu finds his father's body near the tunnel, and his family mourns. Thembu then takes over his father's job of signaling the trains, and he is proud to inherit the axe and carry on his father's work.
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