MAY 2018
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


The 20th annual Community Health Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Hindu Temple Community Hall in Tampa. This volunteer-run community service has been a tradition at the temple since 1998. Each year, the free Health Fair generates a tremendous response. There are typically 400 attendees and 20-plus participating physicians. Physicians and volunteers work together providing free screenings and health information services.

The public can benefit from the various free blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and dental screenings, eye exam, hearing evaluation, carotid ultrasound, spirometry, etc. Also, advice and health discussions will be held on several topics, including nutrition, exercise, vaccination, diabetes, hypertension, cancer alert, anxiety and depression, heart attack and stroke awareness, and yoga and meditation. There will be exhibits on these and other topics.

One of the fair’s highlights is the opportunity for attendees to interact with physicians, by asking questions about nutrition, diabetes, osteoporosis, stress management, child health, menopause, bypass surgery, peptic ulcer, heart disease and more.

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


Terrorism, war and natural disasters are as much a part of daily life as weather forecasts and traffic alerts. Stress affects every aspect of our lives regardless of where we live in the world. In simple terms, our mind is connected to our body, thoughts directly affect our health. So, what can we do to manage external factors and continue to live full, joyous lives?

“Live consciously, be aware of your reactions to external and internal triggers. Practice managing your thoughts,” says contemporary mystic Anandmurti Gurumaa, who will present an intensive Meditation Retreat May 16-20 in Weston. She has been guiding thousands of people around the world to live conscious, joyful lives despite stressful circumstances. Her message is beyond boundaries – she transcends gender, religious, political, geographic and material borders.

During the sessions, Gurumaa will offer strategies to manage stress, improve mind and body health, eliminate addictions, improve relationships and enhance focus and creativity.

The retreat, her only one in Florida, will be at Bonaventure Resort & Spa, 250 Racquet Club Road, Weston. For registration or more information, call Jayam Iyer at (727) 709-2364, Lilly at (954) 801-7867 or visit 


Dr. Mona Jain

Dr. Mona Jain


By NITISH S. RELE – [email protected]

In August 2019, the first new school in the United States named after an Indian-American will open in the Bradenton area. Designated the Dr. Mona Jain Middle School, it honors a longtime Manatee County teacher and education leader.

The School Board unanimously picked Dr. Jain out of 27 nominees for the naming honor on March 13.

“It was not just for me,” Dr. Jain, 81, says during an interview at her Bradenton home where she lives with husband Kailash and daughter, Anila, a physician/medical consultant. “The school is dedicated to people who believe in education, educators of past and future. I believe in helping out young boys and girls, especially young women.”

Women’s causes are dear to Dr. Jain, who has been on the executive board of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and was president of the American Association of University Women.

Dr. Mona Jain

Anila, Kailash and Dr. Mona Jain.

Born in undivided India (Karachi) with ancestors from Punjab, she moved with her family to the capital of India where she earned a B.Ed. in Biological and Health Sciences, and a B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry and History of Sciences, both from Delhi University. At the university, she met her husband. Their daughter was only 5 when the Jain family immigrated to the Sarasota/Bradenton area in 1964 to pursue a Fulbright Scholarship that Dr. Jain had won. At that time, they were the first Indian family in Sarasota/Manatee counties, with no other Indians within 100 miles.

While her husband ran an import-export and jewelry businesses, she taught biology at Bayshore Middle and High schools from 1970 to 1982 before becoming director of family health services for Manatee County’s Head Start program. A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to disadvantaged children and their families.

Dr. Jain’s thirst for more education led her to earn a master’s in Science Education from Florida State University in 1971. Later, she received a doctorate in interdisciplinary and educational leadership from the University of South Florida in 1984. At the age of 50, she earned an M.D. from Spartan Health Sciences University School of Medicine in St. Lucia in 1987. However, instead of pursuing a career in medicine, she chose to continue to educate young minds.

Dr. Mona Jain

Dr. Mona Jain Middle School groundbreaking.

After teaching for more than 45 years, Dr. Jain is not resting on her laurels. “I still help out when called,” she tells us. “I stay busy with the community. This (Sarasota/Bradenton) is a giving town, a beautiful community. We have now been here for 54 years.”

With a construction budget of $45 million, the Dr. Mona Jain Middle School will have nearly 1,100 students. “It is an honor to build this school in Dr. Jain’s name and get to know Dr. Jain and her family,” says Nathan Carr of Willis Smith Construction, which is building the school. “What resonates most with us is how Dr. Jain has encouraged so many to pursue STEM subjects and careers, and has helped so many young ladies reach higher in their lives.”

Dr. Jain has great aspirations for the new school. “I expect it will provide the best quality education for the whole child, i.e. overall, emotionally, psychologically, in every respect. And I am always a phone call away,” she says. “Nothing can happen alone. I feel it is teamwork, to build consensus even amid disagreements. I work with every ethnic group. We are realizing that in order to be global, we need to be progressive with education.”

Dr. Mona Jain

School rendering.

Among her many accolades, Jain has won USF’s Distinguished Alumna Award and USFSM’s Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, and the Edgar H. Price Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award shared with her daughter, Anila, among several others. “I belong to 20 organizations,” she says.

“I am proud to be American but I am equally proud of India, country of my birth,” concludes Dr. Jain, whose personal qualities of sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom and charity should be admired and cherished by us all.

Maha Kumbhabhishekam (consecration) CEREMONIES of Sri Ayyappa Temple of Tampa set May 22-28

Story provided by SASTA

Maha Kumbhabhishekam of Sri Ayyappa temple of TampaA long cherished dream of Florida devotees of Lord Ayyappa, especially those of Tampa Bay, is about to be fulfilled. The Maha Kumbhabhishekam of Sri Ayyappa temple of Tampa, 6829 Maple Lane, will be celebrated from May 22-28. The Prana prathishtapana will be done at the newly constructed temple on May 27 from 5.45 a.m. to 7.45 a.m. Devotees taking the Irumudi can climb the holy 18 steps that evening.

Kumbhabhishekam or the consecration of a temple is the most auspicious religious moment where devotees will be showered with divine energy and blessings. This is the culmination of a spiritual journey that began 18 years ago when a small group established the nucleus of a religious society for the worship of Lord Ayyappa called Sri Ayyappa Society of Tampa (SASTA), in 2000.

This is the first temple in the U.S. with the presiding deity as Lord Ayyappa Swamy and 18 holy steps. Those devotees from the U.S. who regularly undertake the annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala in Kerala, India, during the mandala season and climb the holy 18 steps to get a darshan of Ayyappa can now visit the SASTA temple in Tampa carrying the Irumudi and climb the holy 18 steps for blessings. The other deities are Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga, Lord Shiva, Lord Narayana and Goddess Mallikapurathu Amman. 

Meleppallil Easwaran Namboothiri, previously Sabarimala Melshanthi (chief priest) from 1996-1997, will officiate the proceedings.

For information, call Vijay Narayanasamy at (813) 220-1999, Rama Kamisetty at (813) 842- 8141, email [email protected] or visit

CALL 813-758-1786.
or write to

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