What does Ravi think it would feel like to be "the winner in a circle of older, bigger, luckier children"?  

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Ravi thinks it would be the greatest feeling that he has ever experienced in his entire lifetime. The text specifically tells readers that it "would be thrilling beyond imagination." In other words, actually being the winner of the hide-and-seek game will be even better than anything that Ravi has ever imagined before. Ravi even smiles to himself at the thought of his coming victory. He believes that the other children will cheer and revere him like a conquering hero.

He hugged his knees together and smiled to himself almost shyly at the thought of so much victory, such laurels.

The thoughts of future praise and worship is what motivates Ravi to stay inside the shed long after the other children have stopped playing the game. By the time that Ravi claims his victory, the other children have long forgotten him. The story ends with Ravi facing some harsh realities. Not only do the other children not grant him victory and laurels, but Ravi also learns that he is so insignificant that the other children didn't even know that he was still playing the game.

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.

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