Why there’s no such thing as a free lunch for Rahul Dravid

Or that matter, a free doctorate or freebies from cricket mates.

Rahul Sharad Dravid’s uncomplicated humility never fails to amaze. More so, in these complicated times that we live in. By now it’s common knowledge that India’s former captain has declined an Honorary Doctorate from Bangalore University. Dravid even informed the university that he wanted to earn his doctorate rather than accept an honorary one. Who does this these days? It also appears this is not the first time Dravid has refused an honorary degree, and by the look of it, it will not be the last.

After Dravid’s latest show of character, a spate of similar stories have surfaced. As expected, Dravid has refused to accept if any of these are true, though in his own mischievous way, he has not refuted them. He said, tongue firmly in cheek, “I have learnt not to declare, whether this is true or not, it’s for you to decide”

My way or the highway

One of the common stories doing the rounds is of a young, impressionable Dravid, still in college, pursuing his B Com in Bangalore, invited to a friend’s place for lunch. Dravid stunned his friend’s mother when he refused lunch, stating in no uncertain terms, “My contribution to this meal is zero. Just like cricket is a team sport, I think, sharing a meal together should also be a team sport, aunty”. Dravid’s friend’s mother was puzzled by the teenager’s eloquence in thought; so she simply asked, “Rahul, what are you trying to say, son?”

The reply zapped one and all present.

Dravid insisted he be given the task to wash the dishes. When it was argued that he was a guest and none of the other boys had volunteered, and a kitchen was not the domain of a young male student, his books were; Dravid was sharp, to the point, “Aunty, let us not stereotype students or gender roles, please let me contribute or I will be unable to eat”. Finally, Dravid had his way as he often does.

He took pains over doing the dishes, as he often did with his long, masterful innings. After that particular lunch, whenever Dravid was invited to his friend’s place, they served in paper plates, usually ordering pizzas.

A team man, to the last

Not to be outdone, Dravid also wanted to contribute to the take-away pizza meal. But as a young student, coughing up for pricey pizzas was not an option. Dravid thought hard and then offered to take the pizza cartons and paper plates to the closest recycling bin – in the early 90s, such bins were few and far between. However, Dravid would diligently cycle to the closest recycle bin (it was 2.3 km away).

His friend’s mother was pleased not to see him washing dishes in the kitchen. “What Rahul recycles and how much Rahul cycles is his business”, she would frequently say.

Dravid made his India debut against Sri Lanka in 1996. By then he was 23, also in the team were his Karnataka mates, Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath, both of who were his India seniors by a few years.

Dravid felt he owed his two seniors much gratitude for their concern towards him as a young rookie in the side. However, he did not know how to thank them till one day he sat them down and dished out his plan – “both of you love to bowl long spells, especially in the nets…but you know under Azhar as captain, there is a certain culture to the team and you always don’t have willing batsmen in the nets…specially against your pace, Javagal…what I mean to say is this…I’m very thankful to all you’ve done for me, to make me feel welcome here, and to show I really appreciate it, I’m ever ready to face you in the nets…specially you Venki…”, he wrapped up in a lighter vein, making an obvious reference to Prasad’s easy paced seamers.

From that day, the three were inseparable in the dressing room. Dravid was content, he never believed in a free lunch, not from his friend’s mom, not from his mates, not from anybody. Everything had to be earned.

Way back, as a student, when setting off to pay for the supposed free lunch of pizzas, he said, “it’s either my way or the highway…which is where I’m taking these boxes to recycle”

Perhaps, those were the days when the seeds for the world’s most-stubborn batsman were sown. Food for thought.

However plausible this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.