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GEAR UP FOR TAMPA INDIA FESTIVAL ON NOV. 7
By NITISH S. RELE
About 10,000 people are expected to attend the 22nd annual India Festival on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the University of Florida Sun Dome in Tampa.
“We want everyone irrespective of their origin to come enjoy the activities at India Festival,” said India Festival Chairman Mukesh Kapadia. “For over two decades now, we have been bringing 10,000 folks under one proof to promote our culture.”
Organized by the Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, nearly 80 vendor booths will offer clothing, jewelry, film DVDs and CDs, arts and crafts, photo studio, home décor, etc. There also will be numerous eateries selling delicacies such as samosas, bhel puri, chicken curry and dosas. A special treat to the palate will be exotic, tropical-flavor ice cream and juices.
On the lower level stage, performers will be decked out in traditional attire for four categories of dance competition – garba, raas, folk and bhangra.
Indian-American communities in such far places as Miami, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Ocala among others will be participating in dozens of competitions.
Throughout the Sun Dome, several closed-circuit TV monitors will be set up so people can shop and eat while watching the dances.
The India Festival will be held 1 to 10 p.m. Nov. 7 at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E.
Fowler Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for children 12 and younger.
For information, call Mukesh Kapadia at (813) 979-4048 or P.D. Patel at (813)
935-2591 or visit www.gujaratisamaj.org
SOUTH FLORIDA EKAL TO HOLD MUSIC CONCERT NOV. 7
Story provided by Ekal Vidyalaya
The South Florida Ekal Vidyalaya team is looking to raise sponsorship for 250 Ekal Vidyalayas through a fundraising music concert “Yadon Ki Baaraat” on Saturday, Nov. 7, by the Melody Makers group. The performance will be at 6:30 p.m. at Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center, 1700 Monroe St. (U.S. 1), in Hollywood.
General admission of $12 includes dinner and the show by Melody Makers. Admission for children between ages 5 to 12 years of age is $10.
The Ekal movement is a non-governmental program that strives to eradicate illiteracy among the tribal and otherwise less privileged children in India. It operates through a novel system of informal one-teacher schools set up locally in villages. The schools offer education in literacy, arithmetic, hygiene, creativity, and culture. Ekal strives to empower villages while also accommodating for local traditions and children’s schedules. Local residents participate in establishing the schools.
One dollar a day for one year supports one school. After five years of financial support ($365/year), each Ekal Vidyalaya becomes self-supporting. At present, there are 26,719 Ekal Vidyalayas. To operate the Vidyalayas, there are more than 26,719 teachers, 5,000 voluntary workers, 22 field organizations and eight support agencies.
For more information on the Hollywood Ekal concert, callNaresh Tolani at (305) 408-1034, Nitin Desai at (954) 495-1304, Shekar Reddy at (954) 895-1947, Subbarayan Pochi at (305) 273-0009, Vijay Narang at (954) 915-6913, Jagdish Tailor at (954) 562-9375 or visit www.ekalvidya.org
‘CHITRAM – A PORTRAIT OF INDIA’ SET NOV. 14 TO AID TAMPA HINDU TEMPLE
Story provided by Hindu Temple of Florida
The Hindu Temple of Florida in Tampa will present “Chitram: A Portrait of India” – a grand multimedia musical theater production, at the India Cultural Center (5511 Lynn Road) as the culmination of a fundraiser to support Vidyalaya and Prasadshala.
This is a first-of-its-kind performance in the greater Tampa Bay area where the Tampa community is engaged in bringing this production to life under the leadership of composer and artistic director Kanniks Kannikeswaran of Cincinnati.
What is Chitram? “It is an 80-minute long theater production that tells the story of India’s cultural history using choral music, dances and powerful visuals,” says composer Kannikeswaran, who has several other such productions and recordings to his credit. Chitram will be performed by a cast of more than 75 singers and dancers, all from the Tampa area.
“This is a full-fledged stage production that is being produced professionally,” said Dr. Manjul Derasari, the person behind the Tampa performance. “We are grateful to have Kanniks travel regularly to Tampa from Cincinnati amidst his busy schedule to work with the community, to mentor the various groups and pull of this performance.”
The initial conversations regarding Chitram commenced in January 2009. Kanniks made his first trip to Tampa in May 30 and started rehearsing with a choir of committed singers. Dance rehearsals are in progress as well. “All of it will come together in November,” says Kannikeswaran.
Producing a performance on this scale from a distance is nothing new to Kanniks, who has had his production “Shanti – A Journey of Peace” performed by the Lehigh Valley community first in 2006 and then in 2008. He is now working with the Houston community on yet another large scale performance of Shanti.
Gurleen Grewal, one of the singers, described the music rehearsals as a “deeply moving musical experience.” Singer Korabathina Rao has been enjoying the rehearsals as well. The diversity inherent in the Indian community is being reflected in the choir as well as in the array of classical, folk and modern dances that will adorn the large-scale production.
“Chitram was a huge success in Cincinnati and we hope to repeat its success here at Tampa” says Dr. Chitra Ravindra, president of the Hindu Temple. Tickets for the performance are priced at $50 and $100. Tickets include dinner that will be served at the end of the program, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Audiences are requested to be seated 15 minutes before the commencement. Admission into the hall will be restricted once the production begins. “We are also restricting the program to those 5 years and above,” said Dr. Derasari.
“We live in a world where borders are shrinking and people of diverse cultures are coming together. The Indian community in Tampa has grown to over 3,000 today. It is important that we share our culture with the broader community in our area,” said Dr. Derasari, a longtime Tampa resident.
“We invite the community to support this production. Please get your tickets in advance,” says Dr. G.Ramappa.
For information, call Dr. Derasari at (813) 977-6695 or Dr. Gaurangi Patel at (727) 804-4513 or visit www.hindutempleofflorida.org
TAMPA TO HOST FIFTH AACSA CONVENTION NOV. 21
Story provided by AACSA
More than 2,000 people, including 1,600 store owners, 200 physicians, 100 pharmacists and hotel owners are expected to attend the fifth annual convention of the Asian American Convenience Store Owners Association (AACSA) Nov. 21, at India Cultural Center (5511 Lynn Road) in Tampa.
AACSA is the apex body of the Asian American convenience store owners in the United States, according to AACSA Founding President Satya Shaw.
Convenience store owners and operators from all across the United States will be attending the mega event to discuss the issues related to their business and welfare. Florida Chief Financial Officer and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink will be the chief guest, said AACSA Chairman Chandrakant Patel.
A significant feature of the AASCA convention is the 28th annual Miss India USA pageant, which will be attended by contestants from about 28 states. Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia will inaugurate the AACSA trade show at lunch and visit exhibition booths. She also will present Bollywood dances along with six dancers from Toronto. Internationally acclaimed Ravi Drums of Hollywood will perform at noon.
“It is our privilege to host the pageant, bringing beauty
and convenience store owners and physicians together on one platform,” said
pageant event Chairperson Swapna Shah.
It is important for Indian American physicians, hotel and motel owners and convenience store owners to interact with one another and have a common approach to the issues of interest to the Indian American community, said Shaw.
The convention is free for store owners and invited guests. Others can buy $50 tickets online, which includeslunch, dinner, Bollywood entertainment, etc.
For more information, call Satya Shaw at (813) 960-7429 or e-mail email@example.com or call Vijay Gandhi at (863) 287-797, Chandrakant Patel at (813) 340-5505 or Swapna Shah at (813) 789-4142. Also, visitwww.AACSA.org
EX-PRESIDENT DR. KALAM VISITS ORLANDO AREA TEMPLE
Story provided by HSCF
More than 600 people turned up Oct. 23 at the Hindu Society of Central Florida in Casselberry to hear former Indian President Dr. Abdul Kalam speak. Dr. Kalam visited the shrines inside the mandir and was the recipient of special artis performed by temple priests.ong>
Former Indian President Dr. Abdul Kalam, center, is flanked by Hindu Society of Central Florida officers, Mahendra Kapadia and Dr. Adi Nallamshetty, during a visit Oct. 23 to the temple in Casselberry
In the community hall filled to capacity, the audience was anxiously waiting to hear his speech the main theme of it was "What Can I Give." In his usual witty and charming way, Dr. Kalam instantly energized the audience with an inspiring speech about community service. He reminded Indian Americans to work hard and make India proud but to help everyone. He said by giving, one gets peace and happiness.
was arranged by the temple Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. Dr.
Kalam's visit to the Hindu temple was part of a four-day trip to Orlando.
HAVE A BLAST IN THIS ICONIC 911 PORSCHE
By NITISH S. RELE
Where do we begin? Base price? $140,700. What’s that mean, you say? Well, the 2009 911 Turbo Cabriolet is destined to be parked in the garages of just a handful of folks on the planet. It’s that simple. Sorry but the car just isn’t everyone’s idea of a daily or joy ride, for that matter!
No doubt the 3.6-liter turbocharged, horizontally opposed, rear-mounted and power-at-all-times 6-cylinder engine provides more than enough punch around town. The beast can blast off 480 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 460 pounds-feet of torque at 1500-5000 rpm. Translation for speed maniacs? That’s 0 to 60 mph in about 3.8 seconds. Top speed is an astonishing 194 mph. The accurate 6-speed manual transmission kicks into gear at a faint tap of the clutch.
Porsche Active Suspension Management adjusts the suspension system so a fine balance of ride and handling can be maintained, regardless of driving styles. Then there is the Porsche Stability Management, which works in tandem with antilock brakes, to maintain stability and traction in shifty road or weather conditions. Open-air motoring enthusiasts will have a field day with the power soft top, which takes merely 20 seconds to open or close.
The cabin conveys class, sophistication and splendid craftsmanship that are a Porsche tradition. Lending credence to the rich ambience is full leather upholstery on and around the dashboard and instrument panel, on the doors, center console and steering wheel.
Thumbs up to Porsche for continuing the 911 tradition started more than 40 years ago of spirited performance and superior handling. Whether you are on the race track or riding down the road with the top down, you will stop onlookers in their tracks. Take our word for it.
2010 CAMARO IS A HEAD-TURNERBy NITISH S. RELE
It’s back! The fifth-generation rear-wheel-drive 2010 Chevrolet Camaro could stay under wraps for just seven years before roaring back into dealer showrooms with original styling cues still pretty much intact. Who can forget the power dome in the long hood, the fast-raking windshield or grills in the rear quarter panels? The cabin also retains the classic Camaro look with deeply recessed instrument binnacles housing round gauges and the center console four-gauge cluster of oil temperature, oil pressure, battery and transmission fluid temperature readings.
Power to take the car from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds comes
from a robust 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 engine. It pumps out 304 horsepower
at 6400 rpm and 273 pounds-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. The iconic muscle car is
mated to a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic transmission
($1,185). A four-wheel independent suspension system soaks
Our test car was equipped with the RS package ($1,450), which meant huge 20-inch painted aluminum wheels with midnight silver finish, HID headlights with striking halo rings, rear spoiler and distinct squared tail lamps. Standard exterior features include body-colored mirrors and door handles, dual stainless-steel exhaust tips and fog lamps.
The interior is nice though not quite as roomy. But we appreciated the three-spoke tilt/telescopic steering wheel, six-way power driver’s seat and two-way manual front-passenger’s seat, full fold-down rear seat, Boston Acoustics sound system, driver information center with compass and leather shifter knob. The front center console could have been slightly more spacious.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, three-point safety belts for all, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard safety features.
Try as much as we did, we couldn’t find any major flaws in this Chevy. OK, we would have preferred that the car had better rearward visibility and a little more headroom. But then the convertible set to debut in 2011 should take care of the problem.
The Camaro coupe is a head-turner for sure, stopping bystanders in their tracks. It displays incredible nimbleness, tremendous handling and exceptional braking. Indeed, the fun-to-drive, energetic and sporty ride is great value for the money.
2010 CAMARO (2LT)
Wheelbase: 112.3 inches
Length: 190.4 inches
Width: 75.5 inches
Height: 54.2 inches
Braking distance: 128 feet
Fuel capacity: 19 gallons
City: 18 mpg
Highway: 29 mpg
Turning circle: 37.7 feet
Weight: 3,750 pounds
Base price: $26,580 (2LT)
TOYOTARAV4 SEATS FIVE IN COMFORT
By NITISH S. RELE
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2009 Toyota RAV4 4X2 compact SUV.DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2008, the RAV4 has stood the test of time since debuting in the United States in 1996. Though our test-drive model wasn’t equipped with all wheel drive, the SUV displayed decent handling and crisp steering.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine with Variable Valve Timing develops 269 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 246 pounds-feet of torque at 4700 rpm. Power is put to the road through a 5-speed automatic transmission. A front MacPherson strut with coil springs and a rear double wishbone suspension makes driving on imperfect surfaces more than bearable. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering provides admirable feedback to the driver. Tow capacity is 3,500 pounds. Braking capabilities are up to an 11.8-inch ventilated front and 11.2-inch solid rear discs. Zero is 60 is under seven seconds for all you SUV speed maniacs!
LOOK & FEEL: The centered Toyota emblem in the black mesh grille gives away the RAV4’s credentials. Black also adorns the door handles, power mirrors and rear bumper protector molding. The cabin conveys the traditional Toyota appearance with the three-tiered Optitron instrument panel for speedometer, tachometer and fuel/water temperature gauges. Touches of brushed metallic silver finish are evident as you slide behind the three-spoke tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The 60/40-split second-row seat slides fore and aft to open up plenty of legroom for rear passengers. Storage spaces are scattered throughout the cabin, including an under-floor cargo bin. Noticeable is a dual glove box, 10 cup/bottle holders, center console cellular phone holder and an overhead sunglass holder.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, antiskid system, Vehicle Stability Control with traction control, front-seat active headrests, engine immobilizer, limited slip differential and tire pressure monitoring system.
OUT THE DOOR: $23,535, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P215/750R16; wheelbase, 104.7 inches; length, 181.9 inches; weight, 3,529 pounds; fuel capacity, 15.9 gallons; city, 19 mpg; highway, 27 mpg; Web site:www.toyota.com WHY DIG IT: If you need to seat five in comfort behind a roomy and safe ride, which is equipped with a responsive power train, the RAV4 should be at the top of your list. Besides, it comes with Toyota’s solid reputation for reliability and durability. Nitish S. Rele is the editor/founder of www.motoringtampabay.com
COLUMN: OUT & ABOUT IN FLORIDA
By NITISH S. RELE - firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you opened a new store or restaurant in the last six months? Expanding or relocating? Has your business won an award or a mention in your local newspaper? We want to hear from you. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at email@example.com
TAMPAGANESH GROCERY CELEBRATES 13 YEARS
Ganesh Market & Chaat Café in Tampa Bay area has completed 13 years. “I feel thrilled and proud when I look back at my successful journey,” said Sonal Mashruwala, who has owned the store on Armenia Avenue along with her husband Achut. “I am extremely thankful to the Indian community for their great support. Without customers, a business cannot exist.”
Sonal Mashruwala, who received the 2009 Businesswoman of the Year Award from the INDO-US Chamber of Commerce, wants to continue serving the Bay area Indian community and create everlasting relationships with people. “I have met so many great people with different personalities and professions,” she said. “There is always one thing in common with everyone – we are all Indians.”
Ganesh Market & Chaat Café is at 6204 N. Armenia Ave. is open from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to p.m. Friday and Saturday. A vegetarian buffet is served from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends. For more information, call (813) 873-8708 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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