Anita Desai

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What is "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai mainly about?

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It is about a group of kids that are playing hide-and-go-seek.  The story narrows in on one child, Ravi, who hides on a flower-pot on the side of an old garage, but "felt himself too exposed" there so decides to go into the garage itself to hide.  He makes it just barely in time as the child who was chosen to be "it" comes around the corner.  Once there, he "shook, then shivered with delight, with self-congratulation." Eventually, the joy of imagining winning the game overtakes him and he daydreams about coming out after everyone else has been found, and being exultant in his victory.  Such victory was foreign; "he had never known this sensation".  He gets carried away in the daydream and too late realizes that it is quiet outside and he has forgotten that he has to reach home base to win.  He stumbles out and runs to base and touches it, but the kids are already playing a different game.  He is devasted, and overwhelmed by "the ignominy of being forgotten—how could he face it? He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably. He lay down full length on the damp grass, crushing his face into it, no longer crying, silenced by a terrible sense of his insignificance."

Overall, it is a touching and beautifully written tale about the different dramas of childhood-its excitements, its novelty, its beauties and its tragedies.

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