APRIL 2020
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
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FLORIDA REGION OF EKAL RAISES $434,000

Story provided by Ekal

The Tampa Bay chapter of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA raised about $114,000 ($250,000 including pledges) on Feb. 22, enough to fund nearly 315 one-teacher schools for needy villages in rural India. For more than 15 years, Tampa Bay supporters have seen performances by well-known singers and performers of national and international fame. After the success of 2017, organizers decided to revisit the idea of having kalakars (artists) who grew up in rural India volunteering at or attending Ekal schools, showcase their talents. And that is how the “Bharat Ke Rang Ekal Ke Sang” program began.

More than 400 people at India Cultural Center watched as the group of 11 artists performed songs and dances with themes in Hinduism, Indian patriotism and Bollywood. Contributions from attendees flowed throughout the night as donors pledged to support schools and, in some cases, added on to previously pledged amounts. “.... best program Ekal ever had in Tampa Bay”, said Dr. Jawahar Taunk, former regional president, who is still active in the local chapter. “... Over 400 attendees stayed till the end and were motivated and donated about 700 schools,” said chapter President Umesh Choudhry.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

By NITISH S. RELE & SHEPHALI J. RELE

These are surreal and unprecedented times we are all going through. Cultural events and programs are postponed while we practice social distancing, stay home and try to slow the spread of this pandemic. Hopefully, we can find innovative ways to keep our social and cultural connections because we need one another for support while we maintain physical distance. As publishers, these are trying times for us. We will strive to be a resource for you and hope for continued advertisers’ support. If we all follow the necessary guidelines, we can keep our loved ones healthy and overcome this crisis together.

Though there are no events to list, we do have some relevant COVID-19-related articles to share. In her nutrition column, Bhavi Nirav recommends foods to boost the immune system. Seasoned CPA Sanjay Gupta breaks down the recent federal tax legislation enacted by Congress in light of the outbreak. We are also publishing a letter to the editor written by a concerned physician’s wife in Tampa. In a guest column, reprinted with permission from Hindu American Foundation, Doctor of Psychology Kavita Pallod Sekhsaria suggests Hindu spiritual practices to help manage COVID-19 angst.

A collective thank-you to all the physicians, nurses and healthcare professionals in our community who are selflessly fighting this epidemic. Have a topic you feel strongly about? Send us a letter to the editor. We also welcome your story ideas and suggestions as we pass through these challenging times together. Khaas Baat is proud to be the ONE AND ONLY Sunshine State publication to offer comprehensive coverage in your Florida Indian community. Do follow us on twitter @khaasbaat and join us on Facebook for details about late-breaking events.


Guest Column

How Hindu spiritual practices can help manage your COVID-19 anxiety
BY Kavita Pallod Sekhsaria, Psy.D

Unprecedented… This is our generation’s war… Nothing will ever be the same…

In the last few weeks many have tried to explain how all of the disruptions from COVID-19 have felt to them. There has been an overwhelming feeling of unfairness, as people have cancelled everything from weddings to funerals. The sacrifices required have been big, whether risking personal health and safety to provide for others, losing the opportunity to celebrate once in a lifetime events or, increasingly losing your job.

Given the level of ambiguity and uncertainty about how life will look tomorrow, next week or a month or two from now, the level of anxiety many of us have had to process has been high.

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Letter to the Editor

Recently, I went to a local Indian grocery store. Despite their visible exhaustion, it was humbling to see all the employees doing their best to keep things stocked and register lines moving efficiently. To all of you, a heartfelt thank you!

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