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Whistle podu at Chepauk

PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY
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HAPPENING Painted faces, yellow all around and raucous cheering till midnight …There’s never a dull moment in an IPL match in namma Chennai. PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY and UDHAV NAIG report

There are yellow streaks on my hair, splattered by an overwhelmed face painter outside the stadium. It isn’t easy being a non-CSK fan in Chepauk and neither is it easy weaving my way through a flood of passionate spectators outside the stadium. Then there are the hawkers waving all things yellow — jerseys, caps, vuvuzelas, wigs and those harmless but intimidating-looking groups of sozzled men reeking of alcohol and slurring as they shout “Naanga than win panna porom da,” to a few young boys in Hyderabad Sunrisers jerseys. And yet I make it well in time for the toss. My colleague Udhav is already at the gate. We excitedly chatter our way to the entrance only to be stopped by the guards. “No bags allowed,” they say. A little girl in the queue hugs on to her inflatable zoozoo doll tightly and tugging onto her father’s shirt says, “Appa don’t let them take my doll away.” After we resist they allow the ‘ladies handbag’ but the ‘gents handbag’ has to be gotten rid of. So as Udhav runs around trying to get rid of his bag, I pass in through the many security checks next to which lie mounds of food packets, water bottles, pens, lipsticks… By the time I reach my designated stand Sunrisers Hyderabad is four wickets down and I am probably sweating as much as the harried players on the field. Too bad my virulent pink lipstick couldn’t stay long enough to compete with Mrs. Dhoni’s! Shortly, the colleague joins me, this time with a CSK flag which he sways animatedly. It’s never really easy when fans of two opposing teams have to write a story together…but we try and luckily so far there’s no love lost.

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