April fools day Thanks to technology, while the method of pulling pranks has been updated, the tech savvy are getting increasingly harder to fool, muses NEETI SARKAR

It was only about a week ago when those inebriated with bhang were shouting ‘bura na mano, Holi hai!’ The capers continue as today is officially the day when you can create a hullabaloo over petty pranks or in some cases uproar over a public proclamation that the leaning tower of Pisa has finally toppled. Gone are the days when on April Fools’ Day we found gratification in announcing a fake lizard or made bogus ransom calls. While the custom of fooling people on All Fool's Day has survived the test of time, the kind of pranks played has changed significantly, thanks to the kind of technology we have access to today. The prankster’s physical presence isn't required anymore to make a fool of his victim.

Easy come, easy go

With emails, SMS, and social networking sites, making an April fool of someone isn’t difficult. Snehanshu Jain, a copywriter says: “Two years ago when I was class representative of my section, I sent out an email to all my classmates telling them that the final exams had been advanced to the first week of April. Being the class rep, people didn’t think I would be lying and when it comes to exams, nobody takes a chance so the spoof was a success till I got irritated with all the calls I got that I sent out another mail saying I had fooled them all!”

Sending out event invites to anything from Sunday bazaars in the city to weddings are commonplace on a forum like Facebook. Engineer Miliie Shah made the most of this last year. “My boyfriend and I had been dating for five years by last April 1. My colleagues would keep bugging me about when I was going to ‘settle down’ so I sent them all fake invites on Facebook and that day I was the centre of everyone’s attention at work and even got gifted flowers and cake,” she quips as she narrates.

Offline, online

While one cannot deny that technology has provided us innumerable ways to fool people on All Fools Day, we also cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that ironically it is this technology that has made a whole lot of us foolproof!

For example, a decade ago when mobile phones weren’t as universal as they are now, to fool a friend we would have to call on their landline. Not many dared to fool friends from their own mobile numbers when cell phones became popular so the sham calls on landlines continued. However, with people installing caller IDs for these phones, spoofs like this have seen a decline in popularity.

Done to death

According to collegian Niyanta Sanghani, “Today a lot of us spend a good deal of time on Facebook so we just know how and when to catch someone’s bluff online. I never believe people who change their relationship status on Facebook on April 1 because this is one of those done-to-death online spoofs that nobody falls for anymore. Also, when people calling from numbers I don’t recognise try to fool me, I hang up on them without much ado. They invariably call back and confess who they are and the prank backfires.”

In all of this, one thing is certain, technology has revolutionised the way we fool people and the degree to which we are infallible. So maybe it’s time we go back to playing practical jokes in person to enjoy the essence of this day to the fullest. So are you hoax-calling someone already or do you plan to glue a one rupee coin to the ground on a busy street corner today?

Keywords: All Fools Day