Parents of MH370 passenger find it difficult to accept that they will never see their son again

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Each time he sees a plane, former estate worker G. Subramaniam is choked with emotion because it brings back memories of his only son Puspanathan, who was among the 239 passengers on board Malaysia Airlines MH370.

Since news of the missing aircraft made headlines a year ago, life has not been quite the same for Mr Subramaniam and his wife A. Amurathnam, who still find it hard to accept that they would never see their son again.

With the mystery of MH370 remaining unsolved and no wreckage or bodies found, the family has not performed any final rites for Mr Puspanathan, an IT graduate and marketing manager.

Mr Subramaniam, 61, has not been sleeping well, has lost weight due to poor appetite and become reclusive. An avid Tamil movie fan, he has stopped going to the cinemas.

Ms Amurathnam, also 61, often falls ill and visits the doctor regularly.

She refuses to hang up Mr Puspanathan's portrait on the wall of their house in Banting.

Mr Subramaniam has to rely on a small unframed photograph to remember him by.

Adding to the couple's heartache is how some neighbours have been treating them.

"One family in my neighbourhood who used to visit me regularly before the tragedy has stopped talking to us because they feel my family has been cursed and they fear the ill luck will befall on them," said Mr Subramaniam.

"My biggest challenge however is trying to answer my two grandchildren because they keep asking when their father will return from work after they see other classmates being picked up by their fathers from the nursery."

Mr Puspanathan's wife K. Sridevi, 30, and their sons, Varmer, four, and Thashuvarmen, two, are also waiting for Mr Puspanathan's return.

They used to stay in a rented house in Wangsa Maju but since the tragedy, Ms Sridevi has moved to live closer to her parents and siblings in Selayang.

Mr Puspanathan, who booked a new house in Damansara Heights, was supposed to have received the keys to the property this month.

Mr Subramaniam said he was the third generation in his family to work as an estate worker in Carey Island but moved to the mainland to provide his son a better education.

"I'm sad because my dream to see my son become a corporate leader has been dashed but my hope remains strong."

Mr Subramaniam said friends and relatives occasionally provided words of comfort to him.

"Over the past seven months, the Welfare Department has been giving me RM300 (S$112) monthly. Sometimes I work part-time as a security guard when there is an opportunity to earn some extra money.

"I pray daily to the images of my departed parents and God and they have given me strength and hope," he said.