M’sian Man Pursues His Dream Of Being A Classical Odissi Dancer While Working As Fishmonger

Dedication 👏🏻
With passion, anything is possible, and here’s another example.

A Malaysian who not only diligently helps his family run their fish-selling business but also passionately pursues his dream as a classical Odissi dancer.

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Additionally, he is also a principal dancer and teacher at Sutra Dance Theatre.

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Odisi dancer posing
Photo via FMT

Living double life

According to FMT, Harenthiran Pulingam began as a young helper at age 12, refining his skills in gutting, slicing, and selling fresh fish while assisting his parents in their market business.

He has been adeptly managing this dual role for nearly two decades.

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Fish seller holding two fish
Photo via FMT

Harenthiran would wake up early in the morning to start his work as a fish seller at the market. Following that, in the evening, he would pursue his passion as a classical Odissi dancer.

He shared that his interest in classical dance began by watching his aunt dance.

He explained that he initially trained in Bharatanatyam under his first guru, Krishna Kumari, and after completing his studies, he fully immersed himself in Odissi, another form of Indian dance.

Msian man doing odissi pose
Photo via FMT

Being one of the few male dancers in Malaysia at that time, Harenthiran encountered considerable challenges in persuading his family about his love for dance.

“My grandfather opposed it, believing dance was solely for girls,” he recalled.

Nevertheless, Harenthiran’s parents stood by him, supporting his pursuit of his passion.

Today, Harenthiran is a seasoned dancer with comprehensive training in Odissi, Bharatanatyam, ballet, and contemporary dance.

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He has taken on significant roles in numerous Sutra productions and has toured internationally, showcasing his exceptional talent.

“Dance shaped who I am today. It taught me discipline and how to present myself. It even brought me to the US,” he said.

To him, the marketplace and the dance floor are equally significant.

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“I don’t differentiate between the two. My work sustains me, while dance fulfills my passion,” he explained.

Despite his demanding schedule, Harenthiran manages both careers with unwavering dedication, greatly enhancing his family’s pride.


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