Then and now: Arumugam, or Sri Arul, as he is known, in a dancing pose during his days as a dancer and at present, on a wheelchair holding his injured foot.
KUALA LUMPUR: His feet once tapped and toed to lilting music that mesmerised hordes of admirers, including the rich and famous.
Now, Sri Arul is all alone, nursing a festered foot that can no longer follow the beat and rhythm of the music he loves.
He claimed he did not have any money for a meal and all his fans and friends had deserted him.
Such is the fate of the once popular Indian classical dance exponent and teacher, whose life turned upside down after he injured his right foot a year ago.
Because of acute diabetes, the small wound quickly turned septic, which landed the famed bharatanatyam exponent in hospital for five months.
This led to all his five toes on the right foot being amputated and Sri Arul, 54, now finds the curtains have closed on a glorious dancing career.
“I never dreamt that a little cut on my foot would end my career as well as render me penniless and almost destitute,” said the dancer and teacher, whose real name is M. Arumugam.
“I have not had a decent meal for quite a while and all those who were my friends and acquaintances when I was doing well have deserted me,” lamented Sri Arul, who was reported in The Star last August of being a victim of ruthless loan sharks.
He claimed he was once close to many prominent people, including Datin Seri R. Indrani, the wife of former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
He said she had called to find out how he was coping but had not heard from others.
He said he urgently needed funds for his daily dressing, which costs RM40 per session.
“It is with great difficulty I have to swallow my pride and self-respect to plead for help.
“But I cannot go on anymore like this, without even a sen to see me through,” added the broken man, who is also on the verge of losing his home in Taman Koperasi Polis in Batu Caves.
“If that happens, I would be left on the streets. I have lost everything,” said the dancer who had shared the joy of dancing with thousands of people previously.
He can be contacted at 016-957 7724.