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THE WEATHER • …everything was still curtained and shuttered in a way that stifled the children, made them

feel that their lungs were stuffed with cotton wool and their noses with dust… • The white walls of the veranda glared stridently in the sun…everything gleaming, brassy and bare. • The garden outside was like a tray made of beaten brass… • No life stirred at this arid time of day TWILIGHT • The scent of earth receiving water, slaking its thirst in great gulps and releasing that green scent of freshness, coolness. • The trees and bushes around them stood inky and sepulchral, spilling long shadows across them. THE CHILDREN • …they burst out like seeds from a crackling, over-ripe pod into the veranda… • …perhaps roused by the shrieks of the children, a band of parrots…tumbled frantically in the still, sizzling air… • The children…felt released…tumbling, shoving, pushing against each other, frantic to start. • The business of the children’s day which is – play. MIRA • The motherly Mira intervened…firmly pulling and pushing till a kind of vague circle was formed. RAGHU • ‘You’re dead,’ he said with satisfaction, licking the beads of perspiration off his upper lip, and then stalked off in search of worthier prey… • Trampling delicate ferns underfoot as he did so. • Snarling, he bent to pick up a stick and went off, whacking it against the garage and shed walls as if to beat out his prey. THE SHED • …a poor, ruined and conquered city. • …a dark and depressing mortuary of defunct household goods… • …the shed smelt of rats, ant hills, dust and spider webs. Also of less definable, less recognizable horrors. NATURE • What might there not be to touch him and feel him as he stood there… • It was an insect…exploring him. • He…wondered how many more creatures were watching him, waiting to reach out and touch him, the stranger. • …seething with such unspeakable and alarming animal life…

• Ravi looked about him desperately. • …he had been forgotten. then shivered with delight. Clean. such laurels. hefty. RAVI IS WEAK • …he hadn’t much faith in his short legs when matched against Raghu’s long. shaking his head so that the big tears flew. • What fun if they were all found and caught – he alone left unconquered! • Nothing more wonderful had ever happened to him than being taken out by an uncle and bought a whole slab of chocolate all to himself… RAVI IS IGNORED • It took them a minute to grasp what he was saying. • He had wanted victory and triumph – not a funeral. left out and he would not join them now. • …his reappearance. • …silence by a terrible sense of his insignificance. his passion. • …rats. a champion. he had disappeared from their minds. dogs and. • …his success had occupied him so wholly that he had quite forgotten that success had to be clinched by that final dash to victory… THE REALITY OF FAILURE • …his voice broke with rage and pity at the disgrace of it all and he felt himself flooded with tears and misery. • …he bawled. possibly. • He leapt up as Raghu whacked the wall with his stick…it made him feel protected. • All this time no one had remembered Ravi. • He hugged his knees together and smiled to himself almost shyly at the thought of so much victory. . Ravi to slip through. RAVI IS HAPPY • He chuckled aloud with astonishment at his own temerity… • Ravi shook. That at least was cut to his own size.THE PROMISE OF SUCCESS • To defeat Raghu…and to be the winner…would be thrilling beyond imagination. hairy footballer’s legs. They had quite forgotten him. swallowing a small ball of snot in his fear. • The ignominy of being forgotten – how could he face it? • He felt his heart go heavy and ache inside him unbearably. with self-congratulation. even who he was. • Having disappeared from the scene. his wild animal howling. • …the dogged determination of the true winner. • He had sidled away and sat dejectedly on the flower pot. a breaker of records.

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