I cannot offer any rational explanation to this strange phenomenon occurring in this temple tank but can only point out that it bears statistical scrutiny. The fact is that each Tamil year from Chithirai till end of Panguni there is a minimum of a dozen people getting drowned in the tank. It can be more but never less than twelve.This count of 12 holds good strangely only for Tamil year and not for Gregorian calendar year from January. The people in the locality had reconciled to this as something divinely ordained.Nevertheless they keep a careful count of the number of drowning till date.
It is a well known temple and pilgrims throng throughout out the year but swell to unmanageable levels during festival days. The temple management had put iron railings across the steps all around the big tank at the level where water commences. But they were unable to keep the steps from being slippery. The water emanating an odour would appear green in colour covered by moss. Notwithstanding this risk, the pilgrims and local population get into the tank carefully to soak their legs in the water before visiting the temple or take a regular bath. One will find people on all sides but generally after the sunset very few venture into it.
It was the last day of Panguni and the Tamil year. There was not much crowd and the evening was drawing to a close. A car stopped before the shop at the entrance of the tank selling flowers, betel leaves, plantain fruits, coconuts and things for offering prayer inside the temple. A young man who alighted with a small boy asked the woman selling flowers “Is this the entrance to the tank? Can we go inside?”
She said “Ayya (Sir), it is already dark. The tank is slippery. You can go to the temple directly.”
“No, we wish to wash our legs in the sacred water and sprinkle some on our heads before entering the temple. We will be careful” he said
“I beg of you. Please avoid the tank. There is nobody there inside. It is an ill fated tank at this point of time. Please go to the temple and wash your feet in the tap at the entrance” she pleaded
A middle aged man who was with her in the shop, obviously her husband intervened and shouted at her “Keep quiet, Bhagyam.Why are you preventing them from washing their feet because of your foolish fears?” He turned to the young man “Sir, you can go freely. Ignore this crazy woman who always blabbers”
Bewildered the young man looked at the woman who pleaded with her eyes and with expression in her face against their entering the tank. The middle aged man prodded him “Go sir, do not be afraid.”
As the young man and the boy slowly walked towards the tank, Bhagyam asked her husband “Don’t you know this is the last day of Panguni and it is already evening. No one will go to the tank. There have already been 11 drownings.Do you want one of the two,the young man and the sweet little boy, to lose his life? Are you not a human?”
“I know all that.You invariably after closing the shop go down to wash your legs and sprinkle some flowers on the tank. I am forced to accompany you. One of us may be the last victim today. That is why….”he did not complete the sentence
Bhgayam jumped from the stall and ran down the steps towards the young man and the boy who were very close to water shouting like a mad woman “Don’t get into the water. Promise upon God, please do not put your feet in the water”
Her husband came running behind her in the steps to prevent her from going to the water. There were now four near the water for the tank to choose its remaining victim.