Seven dogs. Thirty hens. A few ducks. The odd turkey. Cows everywhere. And eleven rambunctious children, of whom Jose was the tenth. Solitude, obviously, was not a word that young Jose was acquainted with at that stage; fate decreeing that he would have enough of it later in life.
Jose remembers the day his father told the children that he had a small surprise for them. The surprise, when it did come, was hardly small; a baby elephant, no less. This mammoth addition to the happy menagerie that was his life didn’t stay too long. The deal fell through, and there were suspicions that his mother’s ardent prayers had a major part to play. This early incident, perhaps explains his lifelong affinity for these gentle giants, who frequent the area around the Resort at Kabini, in such numbers.
The early influence of life in the lap of nature shaped the man Jose was to become, and he grew into someone with a deep and abiding love for nature and the preservation of his environment. His father also played a huge role in exposing him to people of different strata of society and instilling in him an appreciation of different cultures and lifestyles. These were lessons that they don’t teach you at Madras Christian College, his alma mater.
His first job was to be in charge of the family's large thousand acre plantation in Kundapur, which lay cut off from the world, between Mangalore and Goa. Jose spent a total of six years here, two after his marriage to Tessa, and these were some of the happiest moments of his life. No electricity, no telephones, no creature comforts; only the ruggedly beautiful land and a simple, self sufficient people for company. Here he learnt to not only enjoy the pleasures of solitude, but also learnt the local tongue, which was to prove invaluable in his future interactions.
Next stop in life was a re-location to Bangalore as Director- Marketing, at the family owned Orange County Resorts. While his base was a vibrant metropolis, the Resorts were far from the madding crowd, and afforded Jose a chance to commune with his beloved wilderness. He was now in a position where he could positively impact the local environment, by integrating the cultural and natural worlds and helping preserve the delicate balance of man and nature. The Responsible Tourism policies endorsed by Orange County Resorts were a step in the right direction, with LIFESCAPES being the latest initiative in marrying the Group’s ecological concerns with Jose’s passion for nature and culture photography. What makes the whole thing worthwhile for Jose is the hope that the stories told here will find a voice that reaches those who share his concern for the nature and culture of his land.