One of the main themes throughout the short story "Games at Twilight" concerns alienation and isolation. Throughout the story, Ravi is bullied and forgotten during a game of hide-and-seek. An older boy named Raghu intimidates Ravi by pounding on the shed where he is hiding during the game. Ravi's hiding spot is in a rundown shed attached to a garage where old household items are stored. Ravi avoids detection and waits until the sun has gone down before he remembers that in order to win the game he has to touch the veranda. After Ravi runs out and touches the veranda, declaring that he has won, the other children look at him awkwardly, and Ravi realizes that he has been forgotten. Ravi's sense of alienation becomes apparent as he refuses to participate in their new game. Anita Desai writes,
"He had wanted victory and triumph—not a funeral. But he had been forgotten, left out, and he would not join them now. The ignominy of being forgotten—how could he face it? He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably" (3).
Desai examines Ravi's feelings of inferiority and alienation throughout the story. While he is in hiding, Ravi daydreams about being recognized as the winner of the game. Unfortunately, when Ravi confronts reality he finds out that he has been sadly forgotten. The feeling of being overlooked and neglected traumatizes the young boy. Ravi becomes so depressed that he lays facedown on the ground and contemplates his insignificant existence.