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Home » , » Ravi's feelings undergo a great many changes. Trace these changes in the story "Games at Twilight"?

Ravi's feelings undergo a great many changes

The short story " Games at Twilight" is wonderful creation of Anita Desai, one of the prominent living Indian writers. Ravi, though cannot be regarded as the protagonist of the story', is at the centre. The events of the story centre around him. Though apparently the story deals with some Indian children's game, it explores the psychology of a child's world. Ravi's participation in a simple game of hide-and-seek leaves him feeling isolated and abandoned at the end of the story.

It is Ravi's mentality or mental framework, which is put to light in the story. In the story Ravi's feeling undergoes a great many changes. His feeling fluctuates with prospect of his success, frantic fear in the dark shed, and finally when he is ignored by the other playmates and even adults. At the very outset of the story Ravi is one of those who have become utterly bored of the daylong confinement in the house. Their restlessness reached its peak they were all eagerly waiting for the opportunity to come out in the afternoon and start their business of the day, i.e., play. Ravi, along with the others, felt relived as their Ma allowed them to go out and art their business.

When they decide to play hide and seek, Raghu became the seeker and Ravi, the hider. When Ravi managed to hide himself in a secured place, under a dark shed, and duped Raghu, he was greatly gratified. He even went to the extent of congratulating his own self - "Ravi shook, then shivered with delight, with self-congratulation. Also with fear." His feeling took a dubious shape; he was, at the same time, elated with delight of success and frightened with fear of being in a weird place. But among the two emotions delight dominated as he for the first time in his life senses the taste of a great victory. The prospect of the fun when he would come out unconquered almy drove him crazy. He became crazy for victory; his feelings knew no bounds at the sensational thought of being hailed as the "Champion". He could hardly believe that he would defeat Raghu. The writer records Ravi's feelings in the following words: " To defeat Raghu - that hirsute, hoarse-voiced football champion - and to be the winner in a circle of older, bigger, luckier children - that would be thrilling beyond imagination. He hugged his knees together and smiled to himself almost shyly at the thought of so much victory, such laurels." His feelings soared so much that it created a sort of restlessness in him. Everything got obliterated from his consideration except the thought of winning the game. He kept himself in the dark garage and was eagerly waiting for the moment of long cherished victory. But, towards the end of the story, his dream and aspiration turn into a nightmare when, to his utter amazement and disappointment, he discovered that his success did not receive due recognition. He, as ili luck would have it, became so much obsessed with the thought of victory that he even forgot the flow of time and, more importantly, the winning cry of "Den"." It then occurred to him that he could have slipped out long ago, dashed across the yard to the veranda and touched the 'den'. It was necessary to do that to win. He had forgotten. He had only remembered the part of hiding and trying to elude the seeker. He had done that so successfully, his success had occupied him so wholly that he had quite forgotten that success had to be clinched by that final dash to victory and the ringing cry of 'Den!' "The experience is very painful for a child like Ravi. He came out frantically of the dark shade screaming at the top of his voice and thus claiming his victory with in....ant crying 'Den! Den! Den!'. He got everybody by surprise; everybody's astonishment reached its peak at Ravi's reappearance, his passion, his wild animal howling ". He was hysterically claiming his victory, which came to a stop through his mother's intervention. He became so overwhelmed of not being recognised as the winner that he was completely taken by tears. He was finally quieted down by the imposing Raghu. His mind sank deep within as he painfully sensed his metaphysical funeral. The game of funeral ironically heightened his sense of pain and the inner pangs he felt at this terrible realisation of insignificance. The chanting of the children unfolds a grim reality:  
The grass is green, the rose is red, remember me,  When I am dead, dead, dead, dead....'

The irony of the situation is that the chant urges to remember even after death, but Ravi is forgotten when he was out of sight only for the time being.The ending of the story is powerful. The closing paragraph records the inner feeling of the protagonist of the story. He could not take lightly the ignominy and the humiliation of being forgotten. He had aspired victory and triumph; but in stead he was greeted with utmost humiliation. The excruciating and agonising pangs arising out of the frustration of not being recognised as the winner and more painfully of being forgotten by others left him stunned; it turned him incapable of joining the next game of 'funeral'. Thus the story "Games at Twilight" traces the feelings of a little boy. In the story Anita Desai, with superb artistic touch, depicts the twists and turns that take place within Ravi. She vividly records the changes that take place in the mind of the little protagonist. This apparently simple story about a game terrifically delineates the feelings of child at different stages of the game. Through depiction of the feelings of a child the author reaches the inner recesses of a child's heart. In the story Ravi's feelings undergo a great many changes and through the depiction of these changes a child's heart is dissected, not clinically but metaphorically and literally. The story thus explores child psychology.
Ravi's feelings undergo a great many changes.


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