7 Apr 2018

From CBSE Paper Leak To ‘Achhe Din’, Twinkle Khann...





The most elaborate April Fools’ Day prank I have ever been part of was courtesy my Masi. She decided that since the date coincided with an obligatory dinner with a distant cousin, Madhu aunty, a prank was definitely the order of the day.
Madhu aunty had cropped hair, a foreign accent and she brought me an array of imported goodies— chocolates, pens and a sharpener disguised as a mini football, goodies that thrilled my eight-year-old heart.


At precisely 9 pm, the house was plunged into darkness, thanks to our cook who had been entrusted with this vital task. We lit two candles and Madhu aunty remarked, ‘I forgot all the power cuts you people have to live with in India. In Houston, such things never happen.’ My nanny, as pre-arranged, began walking in the garden outside, covered head to toe in a white bedsheet with eyeholes cut out. ‘What is that?’ a frantic Madhu aunty said, while we pretended to be oblivious.

The ghostly figure climbed up the stairs, entered our living room and sat on an armchair. Madhu aunty was hysterical, ‘Can’t you see it? It is sitting on that chair!’




And finally came my starring role. ‘Where aunty, I can’t see anything!’ She pointed a trembling finger at the figure. I promptly walked to the chair and sat on nanny’s lap. ‘See there is nothing here! ’ At which point she began screaming hysterically, ‘Bhoot, bhoot,’ her carefully cultivated American twang discarded like used tissue paper, though she looked like could have used one to wipe all the sweat off her face. Needless to say it was a very short dinner, and Madhu aunty never came over with imported gifts again so guess who turned out to be the real April fool in the end.

But how did this day of pranks originate in the first place? There are myriad theories, the more likely one seems to be that when the western world moved from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one, some folks insisted on still celebrating the New Year on April 1, and so the day was renamed April Fools’ Day.


There have been many great hoaxes through history. In 1957, the BBC showed a family in Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from a tree. British viewers immediately wanted to know where they could get a pasta tree. A few years ago, a company declared that it was introducing left-handed toilet paper and people started making inquiries about where they buy these special rolls. Sweden’s SVT in 1962 informed viewers that they could convert their existing sets to display colour reception by pulling a stocking over their TV screen. Thousands of Swedes fell for it.

India too has had its share of April Fools’ Day pranks. The one I remember clearly was when Cine Blitz, a film magazine had an April cover with what they claimed was Sridevi’s sister. A pale-skinned woman with red pouting lips and a silk turban (Err… this was the era of glamorous turbans for some bizarre reason). This alluring creature turned out to be none other than Anupam Kher!

Source - India Times

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