Encouraged by the success of Lingam, a Tamil novel shaped by his encounters with a don in Thirunelveli, writer and television presenter B. Rajanarayanan has released another work of fiction that is based on a real-life character from the district. Krishnaveni is his attempt to make sense of the strange and unsettling events that followed the girl's tragic death. The story was published in a serial form in Ananda Vikatan.

Rajanarayanan learnt about Krishnaveni during his stint as Thirunelveli district correspondent for Junior Vikatan in the 1990s. On September 13, 1984, the girl fell to her death at the Bana Theertham Falls in Papanasam Hills - an NSS programme organised by her college in Tuticorin had brought her to the area. A member of the local community, Vikraman Kaani retrieved her body from the waters. But Krishnaveni remained the hot topic in the area for the next eight years.

Splicing facts gathered from local sources with elements of fiction, Rajanarayanan writes a story that dwells on paranormal phenomena.

Vikraman constantly senses Krishnaveni's presence. In addition, a string of deaths at the Falls gives credence to the locals' belief that Krishnaveni is far from gone. What does Krishnaveni want? The death of Murali Kaani, lionised by the tribals of Papanasam for his almost superhuman ability to tackle whirlpools and other violent forces of Nature, deepens the mystery. Having failed in his effort to rescue Krishnaveni, Murali is filled with guilt. When he is barely out of his depression, he has a vision of Krishnaveni. Frightened out of his wits, Murali hangs himself a few days later.

Then, the move by the local police to get Kutty to substitute Vikraman as body-retriever does not work - following a failed attempt to fish out a body, Kutty vomits blood and dies.

Rajanarayanan says the story points out the link between a departed soul and a living man. After Vikraman resettles in Kerala, there are no accidents at the Falls. When he returns to Papanasam, by force of circumstances, the terror resumes. To put an end to it, he moves once again to Kerala - this time, for life. Before leaving, he pulls out a body - on September 13, 2002.

As evidence of extensive field work, Rajanarayanan carries interviews and photos of those closely linked with the series of events, including Vikraman and Krishnaveni's relatives. He had also interacted with many Government officials, including Kannappan, DIG, Thirunelveli; Ramkumar, field director, Kalakadu-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) and D. Venkatesh, deputy director, Forests, Ambasamudram.

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