Gina Braganza: Farewell

The Queen of Good Times :)

The Queen of Good Times 🙂

By the time I first met them, I’d heard so much about Gina and Carlton Braganza that I felt I already knew them. I’d visited Opus, their rocking little Goa-themed restaurant on Palace Road Cross a couple of times. My take at that time: decent food, inadequate service, bad sound system, great vibe.

In my role as editorial and copy consultant for the newly launched Food Lovers magazine, I contributed a column called “Inside Story”, in which we dined at the homes of various Bangaloreans to explore their attitudes to food and hospitality. The Inside Story written for the magazine’s second issue took place at the Braganza home.

We spent a delightful afternoon together; thereafter, Gina and Carlton became, if not-quite-friends, definitely much more than casual acquaintances to me. Opus – their little baby – grew up, spawned two siblings (one in Bangalore and one in Pune) and a couple of cousins (a hotel and an online radio station), and became synonymous with music and laid-back good times. Gina and Carlton had built a brand. They were featured on CNBC, they had a fan following, they were Bangalore’s “it” couple.

That didn’t mean they lost the warmth or the graciousness that made them Carlton and Gina. Despite the fact that The Spouse and I aren’t Opus regulars, Gina always had a hug for me – and sometimes, a fearsome scowl – if, as on one occasion, I showed up with more guests than I’d booked for.

The Braganzas’ old-world brand of hospitality is increasingly rare. Gina made it her business to make you feel welcome, and she did everything in her power to lift your spirits. Once, for example, she arranged a chauffeur-driven car to get me to Opus simply because I was feeling low and didn’t have transport. If she was around on the few occasions we dropped by at Opus, she mixed our Mojitos herself (ain’t no bartender can mix a Mojito like Gina!) Carlton, for his part, would drop by and chat – often aimlessly – about anything that came to mind (the man has VD – Verbal Diarrhea.) And there was always, always laughter – even if you were chatting online with either of them.

On Oct 3 this year, I was woken up by a phone call that brought the most unbelievable news: Gina was dead – “passed away”, “no more”, “passed on”, “gone”, if you prefer those words. It’s taken me a week to be able to write this post, not so much because I miss her, but because the loss of my father four years ago leaves me open – and therefore vulnerable – to what Carlton might be dealing with.

I have found that good memories are the only thing that can help fill The Void.

So here’s the text of the article I wrote back then, as well as a PDF version that contains some of Gina’s own recipes. She was a superb cook; I made her Zippy Chicken Liver Pâté yesterday. It was indeed “zippy”, just like her.

Farewell, Gina. Wherever you are, I know that people are having a good time.

Next Page: At Home With The Braganzas


5 thoughts on “Gina Braganza: Farewell

  1. Could not have described Gina better…. Her warm, tight bear hugs everytime you met her at Opus will be missed…not to mention her fab signature cocktails!

    • Hi Monica: Thanks for dropping by. Gina and I have had several conversations on the Science of the Mojito and the Art of Sorpotel. For all her cocktail wizardry, the irony is that she was practically a teetotaler… something that very few people seem to realize.

  2. This article, like others I have been reading obsessively since Oct 3rd), leaves one with such a regretful feeling yet brings face-to-face the image of charming Gina.

    Can’t help wallowing in the feeling of “Why? Why her? Why this way? Why now? Why… why … why …?” But, of course, there is no convincing answer or explanation that will set one’s mind at rest. Nor is any force, on earth or elsewhere, going to be able to reverse the tragedy and bring her back. What cannot be cured…

    (While it is true that neither Gina nor Carlton nor any of their friends know me presonally, I have been drawn to their partnership and the fantastic things they have been creating together and have been following their professional happenings with great interest. Of course, this is only ever since Suman (Bolar)’s brother introduced me to Shonali and I went over and Kroaked at Season 4.)

    There is nothing anyone can say to help grapple with a loss such as that of Gina but we can only pray that her smile, her energy and her vision continue to light up the lives of all her loved ones and friends. I am sure she is still lighting up the Heavens tho’.

    In grief,

    • Hey PT: Thanks for dropping by. I’m not sure if I know you at all – you seem to know my brother, though. Don’t wallow. Gina would have kicked your butt. Plus, as you’ve seen, life’s too short for regrets.

      • Hi, Suman !
        Thanx for replying ! You’re right – u don’t know me at all ! Your bro and I have met a few times (I used to live at Oakyard) and talked about all the ideas we had in common to set-up business (but none of them have seen the light of day !)
        In the matter of wallowing, I’ve moved on since ! I do follow the goings-on on Facebook
        You sound really spunky ! Would love to meet you sometime ! Bye – PT

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