“Baldeo was responsible for signalling whether or not the tunnel was clear of obstruction, and his hand-worked signal stood before the entrance.”
i) Who was Baldeo? What was his work?
Answer : Baldeo was a watchman. He was responsible for signalling the trains whether or not the tunnel was clear of obstruction, and his hand-worked signal stood before the entrance. At night it was his duty to see that the lamp was burning and that the overland mail passed through safely. Also, he was Tembu’s father.
ii) Where was Baldeo stationed?
Answer : Presently Baldeo was stationed at a station which was more life a shack amidst the heavy jungle. It was a station only in name as the trains rarely stopped there. Most trains only slowed down before taking the sharp curve before the cutting.
iii) Who was present with him? What did that person tell Baldeo right after this?
Answer : Baldeo’s twelve years old son, Tembu was present with him. He asked his father if the latter wanted him to accompany him to the station. However, Baldeo refused saying that it was cold outside.
iv) What did Baldeo said in response to it? Why?
Answer : When Baldeo’s son, Tembu asked his father if he should accompany him to the point where he would signal the train, Baldeo denied saying that he should not get up as it was very cold outside.
v) What did Baldeo carry with him always? How was it helpful to him?
Answer : Baldeo used to carry his axe with him always. He never parted with it. The axe head was of pure steel and had been made by his father over charcoal fire. He could cut down trees with it and if the situation required, could hunt with it and protect himself also.
“There was no shelter for Baldeo, but he grasped his axe firmly and tensed his body, trying to make out the direction from which the animal was approaching. For some time there was only silence, even the usual jungle noises seemed to have ceased altogether.”
i) What was Baldeo doing in the jungle?
Answer : Baldeo was a watchman. He was responsible for signalling trains whether or not the tunnel was clear of obstruction. He was in the jungle, near the tunnel as it was time to signal the train.
ii) Why did Baldeo have no shelter?
Answer : Baldeo was in the jungle. The cutting led to the tunnel. He knew that running away was of no use and hence he had no shelter. The tiger could easily run and catch him.
iii) Who was the animal being talked about here? What was he famous about?
Answer : The animal being talked about here is a tiger. He was famous for being a man-eater and the tunnel was one of his favourite hunting spots. It’s next target was Baldeo.
iv) How did Baldeo use his axe against the animal?
Answer : When the animal attacked Baldeo, he moved swiftly and hurt him badly with his axe. However, the tiger again attacked and Baldeo attacked him with a more severe blow. However, his axe got stuck in the tiger’s bone. As a result, Baldeo was left without a weapon.
v) What was the result of the encounter between Baldeo and the animal?
Answer : The result of the encounter between the tiger and Baldeo was devastating for both. The tiger had killed Bladeo after his axe got stuck in the tiger’s shoulder bones. But the tiger was also not able to move swiftly as a result and was cut into half by the moving train.
Long Answer Type Question
Answer : Baldeo was a watchman. His duty was to signal the trains, entering the tunnel through the cutting, whether the passage was clear or not. His home was three miles away from the station. He had a wife and two children. Their small rice fields could not provide them much and Baldeo considered himself to be lucky to have landed in the job as a watchman on the station.
Baldeo, being a tribal, moved confidently through the jungle. He always carried an axe with him. He had mastered it. He could also use it to hunt. The axe-head was of pure steel and it was like another organ of Baldeo’s body. He carried it with himself all the time. He had no intention of parting away with it.
Baldeo was out to perform his duty. As he was approaching the cutting, he saw that the signal light was out. He had to light it up again. After lighting it and setting it up, he came to the entrance and waited for the train to come.
Back in the hunt, Tembu was woken up by the trembling of the sound, signalling the approaching train. Baldeo was also snapped out of his dizziness as he heard a tiger. He could not run away from it. The ferocious beast was ready to attack him. He was also prepared with his axe. The tiger pounced but Baldeo hit him with his axe. Then another attack and this time Baldeo had a true aim. Unfortunately, to his terror, the axe was stuck in the tiger’s bones. Baldeo was defenseless without a weapon and the tiger killed him.
Baldeo had wounded the tiger gravely. He could not walk properly and sat nursing its wounds. The train was approaching. Now, the tiger was trapped like Baldeo. It could not run away and the train mauled him. The driver found about it only at the next station.