Games at Twilight

by Anita Desai

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What shapes could Ravi dimly see in the dark in "Games at Twilight"?

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In the short story "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai, the shapes that Ravi dimly sees in the dark when he hides in the shed during a game of hide-and-seek are of stored household items. These include bedsteads, wardrobes, buckets, and a bathtub.

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In the short story "Games at Twilight" by Anita Desai, Ravi hides inside a storage shed during a game of hide-and-seek. As the story begins, a group of children have grown unbearably restless inside the house, so the mother finally relents and lets them outside. Despite a warning to stay in the protective shade of the veranda, they venture out into the heat to play hide-and-seek. Ravi is rather small and shy, while the seeker is a large football-playing boy named Raghu. At first Ravi merely hides behind the garage, but then he manages to squeeze through the locked door into the shed.

The shed, which Ravi's mother only opens about once a year, is a storage place for unused household items. There are no windows, so the only light is from sunlight coming through the cracks around the door. Once Ravi gets inside, he fears being disturbed by rats, snakes, ants, or spiders. At first he cannot see much until his eyes adjust to the darkness. After this, the shapes that he sees are of the household goods that his mother has stored in the shed. These include bed frames, buckets, wardrobes, and an old bathtub. Desai writes:

By now he could see enough in the dark to make out the large solid shapes of old wardrobes, broken buckets, and bedsteads piled on top of each other around him. He recognized an old bathtub—patches of enamel glimmered at him, and at last he lowered himself onto its edge.

Ravi thinks that he has triumphed because he has not been found in the game of hide-and-seek. However, at the end of the story tragedy strikes when he discovers that the children have forgotten all about him and have moved on to other games.

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