The short story by Ruskin Bond ‘The Tunnel’ has two main characters, in fact, there is no third human character in the story. It is rare to find a story so captivating with such limited cast of characters.
After the watchman Sundar Singh, the second character in the story is Suraj. He is a young boy – which is clear from the descriptions made throughout the story, for instance, he rides a bicycle and loves watching the passing trains. He is so much inquisitive about the watchman’s life and the train tunnel that he comes to the hut of the watchman at night to see the happening of events.
Suraj is inquisitive in behavior. He loves nature but slightly afraid of wild animals. He loves observing things, such as hearing the thundering in the tracks when the train passed and noticing the disturbance caused by the train while crossing the jungle.
He has parents, there is mention of his father in the story. Also, his father wants him to be part of his business, wants to teach him many aspects of the same. Suraj lives in Dehradun, as he cycled from Dehradun to that small village, and from he goes to see the train passing.
In all senses and many ways, Suraj represents teenage, he is highly inquisitive in nature, slightly rebel, and unaware of many things in his life. His limited knowledge about the duty of the watchman shows that he is new to the ways of worldly things. And in the end, when he is traveling by train at night, he strains out to see the watchman and his hut, but only manages to see the little lamp – he fills with gratitude for that watchman. It shows that he has received good values from his family. Throughout the story, he has maintained a sense of decency.
Loved reading the character sketch of Suraj, you can read the full story here – The Tunnel by Ruskin Bond.