Venu, DC senior editor, dead

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DEATH OFTEN leaves a rude shock. That’s what it did on Tuesday. It walked away with the precious life of K. Venugopal, our senior editor. Venu, as we fondly call him, was only 42 years when the end came. However, in refulgence, he was much younger at heart.

The Assistant Editor of Deccan Chronicle, Thiruvananthapuram, was on an assignment to Chennai when he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital around 4.15 pm, where doctors declared him brought dead.

He is survived by wife Vijayasree and two sons Amith and Rajath. The body would be brought to his residence at Udaya Kiran Apartments at Kaithamukku (near Karal-kada) on Wednesday. A veteran journalist, his take on political buffoonery was often skeptical. Venu didn’t belong to the self-crowned intellectual class. He found time to chat up with his colleagues and friends over a cup of coffee.

Inside the newsroom where temperatures run high during peak hours, his ready-made jokes were a Godsend. Besides easing the pressure, some of his surrealistic jokes also made one introspect over the triviality of human life. It was on March 1 this year, some of us met Venu at Hotel Gokulam Park in Kochi for the first time. It was, in fact, the first official meeting of DC’s fledgling Kerala bureau then.

With a strict deadline and a few days to deliver, the bureau members felt the birth pangs of the newspaper which was ready to expand its wings to the country’s southern corner. The seniors had a firm idea on the tone, tenor and the character the new newspaper should assume.

Being an old DC hand, it was Venu who played the integrator’s role. “I’m sure we’ll make a good team. Let’s get cracking”, he told us during the tea-break. Later, he pulled me aside and added sotto- voce: “I’ve read your stories and am convinced you can create quite a mischief!” I was surprised at the workload he carried on his shoulders. He ideated, reported and edited copies. The paper turned to him to write stories, or to edit copy, on a range of copy, from science through politics to movies. Venu would write the edits on difficult topics, one of the peaks in newspaper journalism. Never once did he throw up his hands. The last resort when all else had failed was: “Send it off to Venu.” He never failed us.

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