BANTING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The saying a dog is a man's best friend, may now be even applicable to a pet fish - at least in the case of Petronas marketing manager Puspanathan Subramaniam, who boarded the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines MH370.
His father Subramaniam Gurusamy said the pet arowana fish was sluggish and had refused to eat for over five days.
"The fish now only eats if I prop my son's photo next to the aquarium," said Mr Subramaniam, 60, who became a security guard after retiring as a construction worker five years ago.
The fish, however, is not the only one showing signs of misery.
When Mr Puspanathan was leaving for the airport on March 8, his three-year-old son Harish Varman had clung to his legs and begged him not to go.
"My son travels regularly for work and my grandson had never cried and pleaded with his father this way before," a distraught Mr Subramaniam said.
He said his son had also not been too keen to go on the business trip and requested his office to shorten the duration of his stay in China.
"The business trip was supposed to be for two weeks but my son got it shortened to a week as he did not want to be away from his family that long," he said at his house in Telok Panglima Garang near Banting.
According to Mr Subramaniam, his home was now a listless dungeon, with family members fearing every waking moment and praying there would be no tragic news.
"My wife and I are starting to feel numb inside not knowing what's happened to our son," he said.
Mr Subramaniam and his wife A. Amirtham, 60, also have a 26-year-old daughter named Theanmoli.
Mr Subramaniam said he never imagined he and his wife would have to go through such "emotional torture" in their twilight years.
"We were happy that both our children had done well in their studies as our efforts to prevent them from leading the lives our grandparents had led confined in the estate had paid off," he said.
He recounted how both he and his wife, who were classmates in primary school, had meticulously planned to get their children out of the Carey Island estate where they were brought up.
Mr Subramaniam said they decided he had to be the one to get the ball rolling, so he resigned from his estate job and 'came out' to work as a construction worker.
His wife worked in the estate clinic as an attendant and the family continued living in Carey Island.
"My wife and I bought our house five years ago and our son is the one who makes the monthly housing loan instalment.
"He also pays our utility bills and buys the monthly groceries," he said.