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Floridians are gearing up for Diwali, the festival of lights, which lights up beginning Oct. 21. Here are some of the Diwali-related events to be held in the Sunshine State:


The Caribbean Cultural Association of Tampa Bay will held Diwali celebrations on Oct. 7 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 1311 W. Waters Ave. in Tampa. Live music will be by Taranjeet SuperstaZ. A Diwali Queen and Best Dressed Male will be crowned. Admission is free. For information, call Baata at (813) 482-4285 or Winston at (813) 972-8112.

Also celebrating Diwali the same day in the Bay area is Vishnu Mandir, 5303 Lynn Road. For information, call Pandit Vishnu Sharma at (813) 654-2551.

Sanatan Mandir on Palm Avenue in Tampa will hold Sharda, Chopada, Laxmi Puja on Oct. 21 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The next day, the temple will hold a New Year Annakoot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, call Sanatan Mandir at (813) 221-4482.

The Hindu Temple of Florida on Lynn Road will conduct Diwali celebrations on Oct. 21 with Dhana Lakshmi Puja at 4 p.m., followed by cultural program, fireworks and dinner. For information, call the Hindu Temple at (813) 962-6890 or click on

The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will hold its Diwali event on Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds. For information, call Parimal Butala at (813) 892-8197, Usha Patel at (813) 653-9341 or click on


The Association of Asian Cultural Festivals will hold its ninth annual Diwali Mela on Oct. 7 in the Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola from 3 to 10 p.m. There will be light music by live band, folk and classical dances, songs and bhajans, and booths. The event is free. For information, call Lalman Persaud at (407) 293-6691 or Seeta Dhanraj at (407) 852-2899. The event is sponsored by Maharana Realty of Tampa Bay.

The Hindu Society of Central Florida in Casselberry will hold Dhan teras puja on Oct. 19, Deepavali Abhishekam on Oct. 20; and Annakut on Oct. 21. All events will be held at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the temple at (407) 699-5277 or check out


The Indian Association of the Space Coast will hold Diwali celebrations at 7:30 p.m. at Eau Gallie Civic Center in Melbourne. For information, click on


The Hindu Temple of North East Florida in Jacksonville/Orange Park will celebrate Diwali at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 with Lakshmi Puja and Chopada Vasan Puja, followed by bhajans, aarti and Prasad. Govardhan Puja and Annakut will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 22. For information, call (904) 269-1155.

Read related story By Pandit Vishnu Sharma On Diwali

Orlando Temple
Story provided by HSCF

A special Gayatri Havan will be performed by the Hindu Society of Central Florida Temple on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 8 a.m. to noon.

One of the most important Mantras is chanted by Hindus to affirm the sacredness of life and the Divine awakening of life. It is found in the Rig Veda and the other three Vedas as well; by chanting it; one is able to dispel all negative auras/karma around oneself.

This is a unique, once in a life time occasion to participate in the holy puja, said Dr. Aravind Pillai, temple Board of Trustee member, “Several priests will lead the devotees in chanting the Gayatri Mantra 100,001 times, ensuring the purification of ourselves from previous mistakes and bring peace and prosperity and to bring the blessings of the ParaBramha”

Seven homa kundans will be built in a Yagashala in front of the temple, with ample space for devotees to take part in the yagna.

For information and sponsorship opportunities, contact the temple office at 407-699-5277 or visit

Demystifying India exhibit at MOSI.
Story provided by AAKASH M. PATEL

September 16, 2006 will be a date Indians in Tampa Bay will never forget. On that particular Saturday, the partnership established last year between the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce and the Museum of Science and Industry launched the first part of the long awaited Demystifying India initiative. The grand opening also premiered the IMAX film “Mystic India.”

More than 6,500 people came to MOSI, which did not charge admission, to celebrate the opening of this new initiative. The day was filled with Bharatanatyam performances, drummers, Vedic math demonstrations, yoga presentations, lectures and, of course, traditional Indian food. Local vendors sold their specialty dishes throughout the day on the first floor.

The highly anticipated ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the IMAX lobby on the second floor. Indo-US President Prash Pavagadhi served as emcee, and speeches were made by MOSI President Wit Ostrenko, Demystifying India Chairman Ravi Seepersad, and keynote speaker Robert Arnett.

Seepersad highlighted the reasoning behind Demystifying India. “The initiative was created to facilitate education, awareness, and acceptance of the Indian culture within the Tampa Bay community," he said. He also reminded everyone how they can support this project. "Funding is still needed to ensure that we can maximize the impact of the initiative."

Keynote speaker Robert Arnett took center stage and spoke about how India has impacted his life. Arnett’s book “India Unveiled” was awarded to President Clinton by the Indian government during Clinton’s visit to India.

Visitors then walked through the exhibit, which featured a variety of Indian artwork and artifacts on loan from local residents Lakshmi Sastry's and Viji Reddy. A unique replica Indian home created by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir also was displayed. Other items on display included musical instruments, traditional Indian outfits, and hand-woven rugs as well as photographs by Arnett.

Once visitors walked through the exhibit, they had the opportunity to see “Mystic India,” a 45-minute IMAX film that covers the true story of an 11-year-old boy who walked 8,000 miles during his seven-year pilgrimage. Nearly 3,000 people experienced the “Mystic India” movie, which was shown eight times for free throughout the day.

"I thoroughly enjoyed Mystic India and intend to see it again with my family. It beautifully depicts the warmth and depth of the Indian people and the grandeur of their land,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson.

Thanks to a $130,000 fundraising drive led by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, admission to the film and exhibit are free for children under 18, and $2.50 for adults. Both will remain at MOSI for two years. To learn more about this project or make a donation, visit

Aakash M. Patel can be reached at (813) 228-0652 or e-mail at


Amita Patel was quite young when she began painting. She focused her entire energy on her passion for colors and their medium, in the process winning several prizes. At the age of 12, she was chosen as one of 20 first-prize winners in the UNICEF-sponsored international children’s drawing competition in Paris. Subsequently, her award-winning painting on the theme of a springtime festival was picked to commemorate the 25th year of UNICEF through a 1974 Indian stamp.
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Story provided by BAPS

Following the tsunami disaster in December 2004, BAPS Care International adopted two villages in Tamil Nadu in which 245 houses have been reconstructed. The dedication ceremony of newly constructed houses at Pattipulam Kuppam (145 houses) and Mahabalipuram Kuppam (100 houses) took place recently in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Surjeet Singh Barnala, governor of Tamil Nadu.

Prior to the assembly, HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the governor inaugurated the houses to the accompaniment of Vedic verses sung by BAPS sadhus and South Indian Nadaswaram music.

Each house is of about 480 square feet and furnished with lights, fans, bed, utensils and other household items. The new houses have been built upon the site of the old houses destroyed by the tsunami with roads and walkways leading to each house. The work has been completed in 13 months using local labor and materials. This also helped the local work force and industry to recover from the disaster.

Also present in the dedication ceremony were Thiru Pradeep Yadav (collector, Kancheepuram district), Thiru D. Moorthy (MLA, Thiruporur), local dignitaries and over 2,000 residents of the newly constructed villages.

For more information, visit

Story provided by Swaralaya

Swaralaya, a non-profit organization committed to the promotion of Classical South Indian music in Tampa Bay, will hold a Carnatic music concert by the legendary and well- known Sudha Raghunathan on Sunday, Nov 5 at 4.30 p.m. at USF Public Health Auditorium, Tampa.

Raghunathan is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including Kalaimamani -- the highest award conferred by the Tamil Nadu Government. She is the foremost disciple of Padmabhushan Sangeetha Kalanidhi the late M. L. Vasantha Kumari.

For ticket information, visit WWW.SWARALAYA.US

Shastri Satish Kumar Sharma
Story provided by Shree Yamuna Preeti Seva Samaj

More than 2,000 people attended the seven-day Shree Mand Bhagwat Saptah at Sanatan Mandir in Tampa from Sept. 7-13. “We heard discourses on Bal Lila in Vraj by Shastri Satish Kumar Sharma as well as celebrated Krushna Janam Mahotsav, Nand Mahotsav, Chaak Manorath, Goverdhan Pooja and Annakut utsav, Saji Lila, Ras Garba and Dan Lila with decorations changing in the temple everyday to match the utsavs.”

Shastri Sharma was excellent in reciting Sur Dasjis pads. He spoke in vraj language, which sounded so sweet and authentic. During the weekend, people listened to him for continuous four hours. He has in depth knowledge of our scriptures and has command of Hindi Literature, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Marathi, Udia, Telegu, Bangla and Arabic. Everyday, he had questions and answers session immediately after the Saptha. He also was asked questions on Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity and Quran, which he explained to everyone’s satisfaction.

Pandit Jasraj

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pandit Jasraj will be teaching “Music of India/World” at USF in Tampa through Nov. 1. The class from 10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. every Wednesday is open to the public. Tickets are $8. Khaas Baat had profiled Panditji previously in the May 2006 issue. Here is the exclusive once again for the benefit of our readers.

“Vaishnava Jana To” rang into my ears as I drove in my car to meet Pandit Jasraj for the second time in about seven years. I hadn’t planned to listen to this melodious tune by before meeting up with the Sangeet Martand during his recent visit to Tampa.

I just happened to have this new CD with me in which Panditji sang the title song. Within a half hour, I was standing in front of the music legend. Dressed in his usual kurta/jacket and dhoti, Pandit Jasraj greeted me with a smile on his face and a customary namaste.

The man with the noticeably flowing gray hair needs no introduction. One of the most internationally acclaimed classical vocalists comes from a family in Haryana that has produced four generations of musicians. Tampa Bay folks should become accustomed to seeing Panditji a little more often. In September, Panditji will begin teaching a three-credit course in Indian music at the University of South Florida (USF).
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by the Scribbler

Hopefully, some of you have heard of Behram Contractor.

And if you have, you must have read the “Round and About” column by the late and renowned Mumbai columnist and co-founder of “Mid-day” newspaper. This column and many others, hopefully to follow, are a tribute to the greatness of the popular figure in Indian journalism that was Mr. Contractor a k a Busybee.

Read “Over & Above” by our columnist, who uses the pseudonym Scribbler for now. Do e-mail us your views at Maybe we can urge our columnist to contribute more such pieces for publication in Khaas Baat on a regular basis.

* And on the eve of Diwali (Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year to our Hindu brothers and sisters) and Id-ul-Fitr (Id Mubarak to our Muslim brothers and sisters), here are my thoughts, quirky and mundane at times, with one foot in the U.S. and the other in India, and elsewhere.

•: Indeed, Tampa was the “in city” in September, what with the grand opening of the “Demystifying India” exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). The same day, the Hindu Sangam attracted a gathering of over 2,000 people. Now let’s see if Orlando or Miami or Jacksonville can top this. Any takers?

•: My heartfelt congratulations to Tampa’s favorite Indian philanthropist couple, Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, for being picked to receive the 2006 Global Humanitarian award by the Royal Family on Nov. 4. It’s up to the rest of the successful folks in Florida to follow in the footsteps of these philanthropists. Do I hear a $1 million to benefit a local charity?

•: And as the Diwali festival season kicks into gear, here’s what Bollywood has in store for us. Shah Rukh Khan as Don. Come on, guys, give me a break. A “Baazigar” is now a “Don?” Hey, “The Great Gambler” transformed into a “Don” quite effortlessly. But then that’s the greatness of Mr. Bachchan. To top it all, Aishwarya Rai – supposedly the most gorgeous woman on earth (though not in my eyes) – is playing Umrao Jaan in J.P. Dutta’s “Umrao Jaan.” I am sorry to break the news to Ms. Rai but she is no Rekha. Pretty looks and elaborate costumes don’t make an actor. Even Mr. Dutta cannot pull this one off.

•: Bollywood is in tears. First, the industry lost Hrishikesh Mukherjee, director of such classics as “Anand,” “Abhimaan,” “Bawarchi,” “Guddi,” “Namak Haram,” and others. Genius and Hrishida were truly synonymous. They don’t make folks like Hrishida any more. Instead, we have a “Tom Dick and Harry,” and “Mr. 100% - The Real Player.” Ah, those wonderful days of looking forward to a Hrishida film. May the great man’s soul rest in peace. And the late actor Padmini starred in several Tamil and Malayalam films though the Hindi-viewing audience will remember her distinctly as Minoo master a k a Minoo in “Mera Naam Joker.” Padmini also had a successful classical dance school in New Jersey in her name. Has the Almighty put brakes on making such wonderful and talented folks any more?

•: And now on to the game all Indians, whether in the U.S., Canada, Australia or North Korea for that matter, take deeply to their heart. The Indians are hosting the ICC Champions Trophy Cricket (mini world cup) 2006 in several cities this month. Teams competing include Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. My bet is on Australia to take home the cup. What the heck, I am also willing to bet my last crumpled dollar that the men Down Under will win the World Cup next year in the West Indies.

•: Former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly (now being treated like he doesn’t exist any more) hopes to be in the running when the Indians take on every other team that matters in the World Cup 2007. “I still have a lot of cricket left in me,” says the 33 year old who has captained 50 Test matches for India and nearly 160 one-day games. I say, give the man a break. He could help propel India to victory in the World Cup. Or he couldn’t. And that would be the final nail in the coffin (in this case, his bat) for “babu-mashay.”

•: “The Economist” newspaper (that’s how they like to call themselves though it feels and reads like a magazine) says that India may pull ahead of China in the economic race because its population will continue to grow long after China’s has leveled off. I don’t know about you but if the best newspaper or magazine or publication in the world is hinting at this scenario, it must be true. And finally, Floridians can heave a sigh of relief. So far, no hurricanes. That means no duct tape, no plywood, no long lines at the gas station and of course that translates into no panic. And yes, that also means all the so-called weather forecasters were wrong. Now, if only they would admit to it!


Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

Looking to visit the Himalayas? Dream about scaling Mount Everest but never had the will to actually go for it? Well, now you can right here at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

In April, on the eve of the 500-acre Animal Kingdom’s fifth anniversary, Disney kicked off “Expedition Everest,” a 200-foot high backward roller coaster.

Set in the Asia section, guests board an old mountain railway destined for the foot of Mount Everest. For nearly a mile, the train rolls through thick bamboo forests, past thundering waterfalls, along shimmering glacier fields and climbs high through the snow-capped peaks.

But suddenly the track ends in a gnarled mass of twisted metal and the thrills intensify as the train races both forward and backward through mountain caverns and icy canyons. Soon, guests head for an inevitable face-to-muzzle showdown with the mysterious yeti – known to some as the abominable snowman.

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.
Expedition Everest's trains depart from the mythical village of Serka Zong -- like the mountain, a marvel of authentic detail. The village includes Norbu and Bob's Himalayan Escapes booking office, Tashi's General Store and Bar, an old tea warehouse-turned-yeti museum, the elaborate wood and copper mandir, local homes and a towering monastery.

A pagoda-type building, the three-story mandir was hand carved with 1,000 yeti images in Nepal, then shipped, aged and re-assembled at the Serka Zong site. A tall, brick-red block building with heavy wood doors and protective animal carvings represents a monastery. A village entrance wall built of mani stones carved with auspicious symbols like the wheel of life, an endless knot and other representations portends good luck. Carved totems representing the Tibetan phurba -- a triple-sided ritual stake or dagger -- are driven into the ground to contain threatening elements.

Other Himalayan traditions are represented by piles of firewood that rest on village roofs to avoid pilferage, bronze bells that dangle from buildings, and carvings of yaks, goats and horses represented on door knockers, masks and other building adornments.

For more information, click on

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in the Kissimmee-St. Cloud area.
WHERE TO STAY: The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in the Kissimmee-St. Cloud area is just minutes from Animal kingdom. The 2.1-million-square-foot resort with 1,406 rooms with topped off by a 4.5-acre glass atrium. Designed in the tradition of a 19th-century Florida seaside resort, its themes include the locales of St. Augustine, Key West, Emerald Coast, South Beach and the Everglades.

Some of the highlights include:

A replica of Castillo de San Marcos, the historic Spanish fort that still stands in St. Augustine;

A Key West-inspired Mallory Square, including a nightly Sunset Celebration, which will remind you of Key West;

The famed “river of grass” section of the Everglades;

Juvenile alligators and native turtles;

Tropical plants native to the Sunshine State.

Gaylord Palms also features restaurants, lounges, shops, full-service spa and an on-site and child-care center.

And of course, the adjoining convention center offers 400,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.

For more information, call the hotel at (407) 586-2000 or click on



Indian classical music is by far the most ancient and complex of all music forms in existence today. Yet it is deeply alluring and mystifying. It continues to touch and transform the hearts and lives of millions all over the world.

The myriad forms, genres and facets of Indian music range from austere classicism to popular music.

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Many entrepreneurs grow their businesses in part due to acquisitions of other businesses or properties that present an opportunity to enter a new market, to obtain greater economies of scale or to gain other value-added benefits. With the growth of mergers and acquisitions of such businesses, it is incumbent upon those individuals considering acquisition to conduct a thorough due diligence of the businesses under evaluation. While many believe “due diligence” applies primarily to financial records and accounting practices, the application of due diligence requires much more. Indeed, limiting review to merely financial matters could subject the potential acquirer or purchaser to significant liabilities if certain legal obligations are not analyzed.

There are five primary areas that fall within the practice of labor and employment law that must be analyzed during a sale or purchase of a business. These include the anti-discrimination employment laws, the labor laws, the employee benefits laws, immigration laws and laws that govern mass layoffs. In this article, we will address the general employment laws. In future articles, the remaining areas will be addressed.


Under the doctrine of successor liability, which is a legal theory that a purchaser may be held liable for the predecessor’s acts or omissions, the purchaser can be found financially responsible for unlawful employment discrimination or other violations of the anti-discrimination laws committed by the seller. During the due diligence process, it is incumbent upon the purchaser to review carefully any claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation, negligence, or other claims with their labor counsel, auditors and the sellers to fully evaluate the potential liability.

To the extent that the seller has pending charges of discrimination or employment-related lawsuits, the responsibility for any verdicts or liability may transfer to the purchaser pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the federal law the prohibits employment discrimination and retaliation), or other employment laws. Factors the courts scrutinize to determine whether the purchaser should be held liable for the seller’s discriminatory actions include, but are not limited to the continuity in operations, continuity in supervision, commonality of employees, location of work, asset transfer, among other factors. Depending on the nature of the claims and number of employees employed, a jury verdict in favor of the suing employee can mean a monetary award in the hundreds of thousands, not including attorney’s fees.

For the purchaser, this potentially huge liability may be mitigated by negotiating a clause into the purchase/sales contract that states the purchaser will not assume the liabilities and fees associated with these employment-related claims. Alternatively, the purchaser can bargain for an indemnification clause whereby the seller will be responsible to the purchaser for any moneys recovered by the suing employee. Of course, at the end of the day, all negotiations depend upon mutuality among the parties. It is recommended that the parties to a sale give sufficient attention to these issues and assign specific responsibilities to the respective parties in the purchase/sales agreement so that the parties’ intentions are made abundantly clear.

The information presented in this article is general in nature. Nothing in this article is intended to provide specific legal advice. Please contact your labor counsel or other counsel if you have any particular issues that require attention.

Nikhil N. Joshi, a labor counsel with concentration in Human Resources Management at Kunkel Miller & Hament, P.A. in Sarasota, can be reached at 800-828-7133 or e-mail


Our good old friend, restaurant chef-owner, food consultant and cooking teacher Suvir Saran was in Florida recently. He had donned on the traveling chef cap at Aprons Cooking Schools at Publix Supermarkets in Sarasota and Tampa.

The New Delhi-born and Bombay-educated had an insatiable appetite for cooking since he was a kid. Saran attended Sir JJ School of Arts in Bombay before moving to New York City to study at the School of Visual Arts.
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Preeti Shah
Story provided by India Association of Tallahassee

Atlanta based Bharathanatyam dancer Preeti Vinayak Shah was commissioned to direct and perform a group dance production for the Florida State University (FSU), College of Music in Tallahassee. Co-sponsored by the India Association of Tallahassee, “Om Pranava Shabdham – The Primordial Chant,” was presented by Shah and five of her senior disciples on Sept. 9

The two-hour long program on Hindu deities and their association with the chant “Om” enthralled the mostly Western audience with its elaborate costumes and choreography.

After an introduction by Srini Kishore, president of the India Association of Tallahassee and art connoisseur, the program commenced with a prayer to Lord Ganesh. Hindu deities such as Ganesh, Karthikeya, Shiva, Vishnu and Shakthi were chosen because of their close association with “Om.”
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Story provided by Krish Seetharaman

The Hindu Society of N.E. Florida in Jacksonville celebrated the seventh anniversary of Lord Ganesha Sthaapana on Sept. 9-10. It started with Ashta Lakshmi Havan. Nine Homa Kundas were used to perform the Havan, with chanting of Sri Suktam nine times.

This was followed by Sarva Devata Gayathri Havan in the evening for which the havan was done amid chanting of Gayathri Mantras 24 times because almost all Gayathri Mantras have 24 syllables. Temple priest Pandit Kadambi Srinathji conducted the Havans with the help of his brother Pandit Kadambi Srihari who was invited from Tallahassee. All the sponsors and other devotees participated in the Havan. The priest had decorated Lord Ganesha idol in butter for this occasion.

The next day was Abhishek for Lord Ganesha amid chanting of Rudram (Namakam and Chamakam), followed by grand decoration of Lord Ganesha with Vibhuti and special garlands. Sponsorships for Havan and Abhishek were used as funding for construction of the new temple, which is expected to hold the Samprokshana and Pranapratishtapana events in January 2007.

In other Jacksonville area news, JAXRAAGA, a non-profit association promoting South Indian classical music, conducted a program Sept. 17 at the Pablo Creek Library on Beach Boulevard for children to display their musical talents. The program included a variety of items such as vocal in Carnatic as well as Hindustani music, musical Instruments like violin, electronic keyboard, veena and the flute and percussion instruments Mridangam and Morsing.

Story provided by Isha Yoga

World-renowned yogi and mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev will be visiting Tampa Nov. 8-13 to offer an Isha Yoga program called “Inner Engineering.” Isha Yoga programs are a “live” process imparted by Sadhguru; the program is a rare opportunity to explore the essence of life. Inner Engineering participants take home a balanced set of simple, but powerful yoga practices, including Shambhavi Maha Mudra, an ancient “kriya” (inner action) for inner growth.

Together, the program and practices are an extraordinary opportunity to break through personal limitations, establishing health and vitality, mental calm and clarity, and a sense of deep joy. According to Sadhguru, this foundation of total well-being is the first step toward knowing the true abundance of vibrant life within you. “If you go deep enough into yourself,” he emphasized in a recent talk. “There is a way to be not just happy — to be ecstatic, to be truly joyous by your own nature.”

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a yogi and mystic with profound mastery of the ancient science of yoga. He is one of few yogis capable of transmitting the subtlest aspects of yoga, enabling every person to become meditative. At his home in southern India, Sadhguru oversees Isha Foundation, an entirely volunteer-run, nonprofit service organization dedicated to cultivating human potential through yogic science.

Set in the lush rainforest at the base of the Velliangiri Mountains, Isha Foundation operates Isha Yoga Center, which includes an ashram, program facility, Dhyanalinga (a powerful meditation shrine), Isha Rejuvenation Wellness Center, and the headquarters for Action for Rural Rejuvenation service project, a program for health and human upliftment targeting 13,000 destitute villages in rural southern India. (

Inner Engineering program with Sadhguru will be held in the Tampa area Nov. 8-13 (weekdays, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road.

For information and registration, call 941-751-1509/941-755-9303, email: or visit For information on Sadhguru and Isha Foundation, visit



Opening a new store or restaurant? Expanding or relocating? Has your business won an award or a mention in your local newspaper? We want to hear from you as Khaas Baat kicks off yet another new column to meet the rising needs of businesses and our readers. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at

BAWARCHI IN PALM HARBOR CELEBRATES TWO YEARS Bawarchi Indian Restaurant in Palm Harbor is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month. The eatery also offers banquet facilities for up to 50 people.

Every Tuesday, a special vegetarian buffet is served from 5 to 9 p.m. Lunch buffet is 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday and dinner is from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant also caters for any event as well as offers takeout.

Bawarchi at 34832 U.S. 19 N. in Palm Harbor can be reached at (727) 789-9760.


Malani Jewelers will hold a grand opening Sept. 9-10 in Tampa.

The 1,500-square-foot store at 2367 E. Fowler Ave. (in the Apna Bazar and Mirch Masala plaza on Fowler Avenue) offers 22-carat gold, precious-stone jewelry, a diamond collection, antique gold and watches.

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Tuesdays, the store can be reached at (813) 866-4653 (GOLD), via e-mail at or check out


Last month, we informed Khaas Baat readers about, a Web site that provides Hindi and South Indian film schedules. We also urge our readers to click on www.dattanientertainment for movie timings throughout the state of Florida. Enjoy the show!

Anuradha Paudwal performs at Hindu Sangam.
Story provided by HSS

More than 1,700 people attended Hindu Sangam, a daylong celebration on Sept. 16 in Tampa. The event, held at the Sickles High School, was organized to mark the birth centenary of Shree Golwalkar Guruji and bring the diverse Hindu community of Florida closer. The program was inaugurated by Swami Aksharananda at 9:45 a.m. and ended with a performance by the famous singer, Anuradha Paudwal, 12 hours later.

This was the first major public event in the Sunshine State in which representatives from several Hindu organizations participated, under the stewardship of the Florida chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA (HSS). In his inaugural address, Swami Aksharananda (a South American Hindu) emphasized the great gift of Hinduism, unity in diversity, particularly relevant to a world still struggling with the aftermath of 9/11. More than 100 families participated in the opening Ganesh Puja.

After lunch, there were three parallel activities: Balagokulam, consisting of games and storytelling for the younger children; activities for teenagers; and several panel discussions for adults, coordinated by Abhinav Dwivedi of Hindu University of America.

The afternoon session ended with a cultural segment showcasing the talent of singers, dancers and musicians from across Florida. Of particular interest was the performance by two young brothers on the mridangam, traditional Indian drums. The cultural segment was followed by a performance of the poet/singer/painter Baba Mourya, who executed three fine paintings to accompany his verbal outpourings.

The keynote speech delivered by Shri Ravi Kumar, joint international coordinator of HSS, showcased to the audience the achievements of Hindus.

But it was Anuradha Paudwal who brought the packed auditorium to life with a mixture of classical, filmi and traditional bhajans and devotional songs. Requests from the audience included the popular “Payojimainay,” which was composed by the 16th century poet Mira. A visibly moved crowd stood and sang in unison with Paudwal’s rendition, “Jai Jadesh Hare” – a fitting conclusion to Florida’s version of Hindu Sangam.

Mental Health Column

It is time for the Tampa Bay community to have a forum where voices can be expressed, respected and heard. This column will provide just such a corner. In time, I hope there will be enough interest generated when you, the reader, will begin to request certain topics of discussion.
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Finance | Financial advice | Immigration | Special Needs | Accounting | Business

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Check out the new recipes submitted by Khaasbaat readers from all over Tampa Bay. Also read features on new food businesses and books. Read Story

Children's Health
As the colder fall and winter months approach, the whole array of colds and allergies come into practice as a pediatrician. In this article, I would like to share some valuable information with most of the parents who have to deal with these common childhood illnesses.
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Youth Highlights And Column
Every parent can remember a time when his or her beautiful baby changed into a screaming bundle of protoplasm. There is no frustration that can compare to knowing that you have absolutely no idea what your infant is trying to tell you. If he could only talk...
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