For a long time now, bright yellow outfits have provoked stifled sniggers and disbelieving stares in Chennai.

In the minds of many, the ‘Ramarajan colour’ (named after the actor whose penchant for loud hues is well-known) was too garish for comfort. So when Chennai Super Kings (CSK) unveiled its kit ahead of the first season of the IPL, fans fired away slingshots loaded with wicked jokes.

But, over the next five years, such cynicism has been overwhelmingly trumped by affection. CSK’s status as a Twenty20 behemoth, along with some persuasive promotional campaigning, has contributed heavily to its loyal patronage.

The first match of this year’s IPL in Chennai on Saturday, featuring Mumbai Indians — a team with a powerful fan base in its own right — threw up several elements that characterise CSK matches.

The most apparent would be the endless rows of men, women, and children sporting yellow — caps, T-shirts and flags. Also, the ‘whistle podu’ song that’s very much in rhythm with local sensibilities.

There was a curious, delicate piece of bipolarity. When Sachin Tendulkar marched out to bat, the roars were expectedly formidable enough to cause tremors in the stadium. But, after he was dismissed off the first ball he faced, there wasn’t the usual funeral pallor. Instead, the roars grew louder, gleefully threatening the eardrums.

Going back to how yellow is an intrinsic part of a CSK die-hard, there are fans who have taken it to a different level altogether. Inder Kumar, a city-based banking professional and a ‘proud follower’ of the side, is an example. His Facebook status says has ‘chosen yellow as his new phone’s colour.’

“It’s one team that has made no changes to its jersey’s colour or design. CSK’s yellow, I agree, is a little on the gaudy side, but it’s the team’s USP along with the performance obviously,” he says.

As the action unfolded on Saturday — spiced up immeasurably by popular Tamil songs, spontaneous dances, and the spirited cheering, often to the sound of the vuvuzela — the connoisseur and cricket-illiterate alike went into escapist mode.

It’s hard, then, not to think of the Coldplay number: ‘Look at the stars. Look how they shine for you. And everything you do. Yeah, they were all yellow.’


Yellow fever grips ChennaiApril 5, 2013

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