MAY 2012
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Abhijeet SawantSwaralaya will present “Yaadon Ki Baraat” on Friday, May 25, in Tampa. The musical program is a fundraiser for the association, which is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of South Indian classical music on the state’s West Coast.

Swaralaya was started in Oct 2001 by a small group of classical music lovers in the Tampa Bay area. Since then, it has conducted recitals by top Carnatic music artists, including Sanjay Subrahmanyan, P. Unnikrishnan, T.M. Krishna, S. Shashank, Kadri Gopalnath, Ranjani-Gayatri, Aruna Sairam, Vijay Siva, Sikkil Gurucharan, Malladi brithers, Hyderabad Brothers, Sudha Raghunathan, Sowmya and Bombay S. Jayashree.

Highlighting the evening of melody and nostalgia will be Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant along with singers Shruti Rane, Srikant Narayan and Deepali Sathe. The 7 p.m. concert will be held at India Cultural Center (ICC), 5511 Lynn Road. Tickets are $25, $50, $100. For information, call Lata Kumar at (813) 679-7298 or Ravi Narayanan at (813) 961-6120.


OCALA PUSHTIDHAM HAVELI UTSAVAbout 350 people attended Mahaprabhuji's Pragatyadin Utsav at Pushtidham Haveli in Ocala recently. “This was the best shobha yatra in Florida,” said Pushtidham organizer Raj Kamdar. “We had a great event with the blessings of Shrijibava and Samadt Vallabhkul Parivar, and the support of all devotees, friends and their family.”

Pushtidham (Haveli of Florida) is at 14080 S.W. 20th Ave. Road, Ocala. For information, call Bharat at (973) 460-5936 or Raj Kamdar at (352) 568-5729.



On March 30, Maya Patel of Tampa was crowned the Florida state Geography Bee Champion for 2012. An eighth-grader at Liberty Middle, she competed with 100 of the brightest Geography students in the state. To reach the state finals, first Maya along with 1,100 other students participated in her school’s competition. The school winners then battled for a spot at the state championship by taking a written test. Finally, the students competed for nearly three hours before a state winner was declared. This was Maya’s third invitation to state.

Maya will represent the Sunshine State at the National Geographic Geography Bee May 22-24 in Washington, D.C. She will have an opportunity to meet moderator Alex Trebek; part of the event will be broadcasted on National Geographic channel.

The 14-year-old is an avid world traveler, enthusiastic student and dedicated community volunteer. Her favorite subject in school is geography. In her free time, she likes listening to music, especially Bollywood, read, dance and play chess.

Maya attributes her success to her parents V.C. and Nila Patel, and their love for traveling. In addition, she has had the support of Coach Kumar from Fort Myers and her Gurukulum Geo Bee prep class. Khaas Baat wishes her the best as she prepares for the nationals.


The 14th annual Community Health Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Hindu Temple Community Hall in Tampa. This volunteer-run community service has been a tradition at the Hindu Temple of Florida since 1998. According to chief coordinator Dr. Renuka Ramappa, each year the Health Fair, which is available free to the public, generates a tremendous response: there are typically 400 attendees, and 50-50 participating physicians. Physicians and volunteers work together to present free screenings and health information services, she said.

The public can benefit from the various medical services provided, which include free screenings for blood sugar, cholesterol, osteoporosis and stress; evaluations of visual, auditory and pulmonary function; information regarding mammography, self breast exams, obesity, asthma and allergies; dental examinations, and more. The blood sugar and cholesterol screenings will be sponsored by LabCorp. This year, the fair includes robotic gyn surgery by Dr. Meena Jain, stroke screening, health insurance information, anti-aging and non-invasive cosmetic surgery by Dr. Sadhana Shah, etc. There will also be exhibits on these topics, and others, provided by the pharmaceutical companies and also from the Trinity Medical Center, New Port Richey.

One of the fair’s highlights is the opportunity it provides to attendees to interact with physicians, by asking field related questions regarding nutrition, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, stress management, child health, menopause syndrome, bypass surgery, peptic ulcer, heart disease and more. Fun-filled activities for children include clown, face painting, as well as door prizes. The fair will also include booths with jewelry, clothes and authentic Indian vegetarian food from the Prasad Sadan (the Hindu Temple kitchen).

For more information on the Health Fair at Hindu Temple, 5509 Lynn Road, call (813) 962-6890 or visit

Also holding a free Medical Screening and Blood Donation Camp from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 19, is the Maayboli Melava (Marathi Mandal) of Tampa Bay at Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave., in Tampa. The event will include lectures on health topics by local physicians along with health screening and medical check-ups. The camp is open to the public. Florida Blood Services will be present for blood donation. For more information on the MMTB medical screening and blood donation camp, visit

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