There was both pleasure and pressure in working under G. Kasturi. He was familiar with all aspects of the newspaper. He was abreast of the news in the country, and around the world.
I had the good fortune of being interviewed by him in 1978 and appointed a Staff Reporter with The Hindu.
Apart from his penchant for the technical processes and the machines, Mr. Kasturi was what we called ‘The Editor’s Editor.’ The day’s important stories were normally sent to him either for his information, or sometimes for editing.
In the reporting section, we would wait with bated breath for copy to return from him. He would have applied his pencil deftly and signed with a red pencil to indicate he had seen it. With a word changed here and a phrase added there, he would fine-tune or add finesse to a report or feature. The way he selected pictures or colour transparencies and cropped them for publication were sheer lessons in photo journalism.
He used to call up The Hindu’s Chief Reporters in various States — they were then called Editorial Representatives — even before 6 a.m. on most days, and ask them for a brief on what was happening in their region. Any correspondent who came to Chennai could see him in the office and brief him of developments. Quite often, they came to learn more from him.
In December 1990, when he turned 65, Mr. Kasturi opted to retire. But he kept in touch with some of the senior staff members.
Post-2003, Mr. Kasturi became more active. He decided to share his experiences and knowledge with select staff members of the newspaper — from production staff and photographers, to editorial hands. He was particularly fond of the photographers and held “classes” for them at the office and at home.
He had a conservative outlook, but never tired of experimenting. The 60-odd news pages which he did on his Apple system and shared with senior editorial staff were proof of how liberal and modern he had become, post-retirement. Most of those in the editorial department would not dare use the designs he had made — because, at heart, they were still conservative, and he had moved on.