EXCLUSIVE! Bad Santa Behind Satna Carollers’ Burning Car


EXCLUSIVE! Bad Santa Behind Satna Carollers’ Burning Car

Illustration: Sushant Ahire/Arré

Weedward & Bongstein were on their annual Christmas break in Madhya Pradesh, when they heard about an incident in the city of Satna. Here, a vehicle carrying mirth and good cheer was set on fire. This was not a car headed to a Punjabi wedding, but one full of Christmas carollers. Being the committed investigative journalists that the two are, W&B decided to get to the bottom of this important mystery.

On arriving in downtown Satna, W&B were told that the “anti-nationals” had been lodged in the local police station. They met a police inspector, a Salman Khan wannabe named Bhulchuk Pandey, who directed them to a jail cell holding eight priests and seven carollers. When asked what the priests had done, Inspector Bhulchuk stated, “Dekhe hain hum Ispotlight (sic), humko pata hai yeh bin bache ke fatherlog kya karte hai, isliye inko jail me rakhe hai.” (I’ve seen Spotlight, I know all about what these childless fathers are upto.)

Deciding this was an investigation for another day, the duo focused its attention toward the rest of the inmates. Upon further cajoling, one of the carollers who declined to be named, told W&B that the night began like any other until mid-way through a carol, they were surrounded by goons who demanded they cease trying to convert people to a religion that allowed the consumption of steak and alcohol without the stress of being reborn as an earthworm. The police intervened and arrested the carollers for forceful conversion in G-major.

While this drama unfolded inside the police station, outside an insidious cup of tea was brewing. W&B ran into a man in a white beard dressed in saffron, who led us to the spot where the car was still burning. The man in saffron glared at them and began a tirade about how these carols drove him nuts every year causing his heart to race every time he heard the words, “Jingle Bells”. Something about the way he said “Jingle Bells” caught W&B’s attention.

“Just sick of all this nonsense about reindeers and partridges and Frosty the Snowman!”

They pulled the man’s saffron robes to reveal he was none other than a holiday Santa-for-hire gone rogue. The long hours in schools, spent distributing presents to prissy children had made him determined to rid the world of Christmas cheer. “I’m sick of it,” he yelled, “Just sick of all this nonsense about reindeers and partridges and Frosty the Snowman! What the fuck are these things even?”

He went on to add that he had requested fellow saffron-robed folks to help stop the celebrations, but a bunch of Christians singing songs didn’t scare anyone. Until, of course, one of the carollers was overheard asking for help converting an MP3 backing track to AAC. The very mention of the word “conversion” set off a bad case of Chinese whispers, which whipped up a frenzy and led them to attack the carollers.

W&B decided to leave as soon as the man asked them whether they’d been naughty or nice. On their way out, they received a mystery text that simply said “Ho Ho Ho”. Thinking it might be a message from the real Santa Claus, they called the number for a quote. It turned out to be a spam SMS advertising escort services in MP. W&B had had enough by now, and decided to leave as they had to be in Delhi the following morning to follow the day’s most important story: the marijuana legalisation bill that’s up for debate in Parliament’s winter session.