Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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How did Ravi lose without being caught?

This story is about a group of children playing hide-and-seek. The story's narrator, Ravi, is the one who has to hide and other children are the ones seeking. One by one, all of the children are caught by Raghu, leaving only Ravi as the last person to be found. Ravi has to touch the veranda in order to win the game. After a while, Ravi becomes bored waiting in his hiding place and decides that he wants to sneak out and touch the veranda before being caught by Raghu. However, when he runs out of his hiding place and touches the veranda, no one seems interested in acknowledging his victory.

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Throughout the short story, Ravi successfully avoids Raghu by hiding in a dark storage shed. While all the other children continue to hide from Raghu outside, Ravi waits patiently by himself as time passes. At twilight, Ravi realizes that he needs to touch the veranda in order to win the game. When Ravi finally runs from the shed, he touches the veranda and yells "Den!" However, none of the other children acknowledge his victory, and Ravi is immediately filled with despair and shame. While Ravi was hiding in the shed, the children had moved on to play several different games without thinking of him. Ravi feels like a dejected outcast even though he technically won the game by avoiding Raghu and touching the den. The fact that the other children completely forgot about Ravi and did not care about his victory ruins Ravi's achievement.

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Ravi loses both actually and figuratively because the other children have forgotten him.

The children are playing a game of hide and seek.  In the game, the children scatter while one child is “it”.  The child counts while the others hide, but the “it” person has to find everyone.  In order to win, you have to go back to the house to touch the den.  Ravi does indeed find a hiding place and no one finds him.  Yet when he finally returns to the game, the game has been over for some time.  The children have forgotten him, and gone on to another game.  Basically, he loses because the other children don’t care about him.  They forgot about him.  Since the game is over, he cannot win.

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