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Shekhar Sen in “Kabeer.”
“KABEER” COMES TO TAMPA ON APRIL 28
By NITISH S. RELE - editor@khaasbaat.com

“Kabeer,” a mono-act musical play by Shekhar Sen, will be staged Saturday, April 28 at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa. Divine Shakti Foundation of Rishikesh is presenting the show to benefit the building of a home for abandoned children just south of Rishikesh, on the banks of the river Ganges.

The orphanage home has the blessings of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, inspirer, guide and visionary of the monumental “Encyclopedia of Hinduism Project.” According to Divine Shakti Foundation, the project will take orphaned and abandoned girls from India and Nepal and bring them to a place where they will be cared for as well as given the physical, emotional and spiritual springboards to live full, productive and positive lives.

"Shekhar Sen's play ‘Kabeer’ offers sustenance to those who revere and live by the legacy of the poet-saints who helped to foster creative co-existence of different religious sects all over India,” said Kaushik Joshi, one of the sponsors of the show. “In a time of communal tension, cultural intervention like this is important to reach out to people.”

Sen, who has written, composed, sung and acted in “Kabeer,” has received rave reviews for his performance from the Indian media. “See it, the singing is a treat,” wrote Free Press Journal while The Times of India said, “Audience glued to their seat … gave the actor a rousing ovation for nearly 15 minutes.”

The son of Drs. Arun and Aneeta Sen has performed 1,000 shows all over the world. He also has composed music for TV serials such as “Parivaar” and “Dhadkan.”

“Kabeer” tickets are $50, $75, $100, $150 and VIP. The show will be at 9 p.m. at Ferguson Hall, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place.

For information, call Kaushik Joshi at (813) 298-5037 or (813) 283-1615. For online ticket purchase, click on www.sulekha.com/tampa





Nandkishor Muley on the santoor.
MUSICIAN NANDKISHOR MULEY PERFORMS APRIL 28 IN MELBOURNE
By NITISH S. RELE - editor@khaasbaat.com

Musician Nandkishor Muley and his group Maitri will perform a 2½-hour concert April 28 in Melbourne. The evening of Indian, Jazz and Oriental music will benefit “Ma” Krupa Charitable Foundation, a Brevard County-based organization set up in 2001.

“Our charter includes medical, educational and social charities in USA and India,” said its Vice President Dr. Mahesh Soni. “We have sponsored this concert with Indian Association of Space Coast (IASC), which is a social organization belonging to Indian community of Brevard County since 1990.”

The audience will have the opportunity to listen to Indian traditional music on the santoor during the first half, according to Muley, a resident of Berlin, who currently is a visiting professor at Stetson University, University of Central Florida and Hindu University. “In the second half, we will present a blend of Indian and Western music.”

During the fusion, Muley will get assistance from several arts performers on the tabla, saxophone, guitar and bass guitar.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert at Gleason Auditorium, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Blvd., are $20 for adults and $10 for students. For more information on the concert, call Mahesh Soni at (321) 725-3438, Subhash Rege at (321) 725-5644, Manhar Shah at (321) 752-8010 or Piyush Joshi at (321) 426-9331.

For more information on Muley, click on www.nandkishor-muley.com.



CHINMAYA MISSION OF ORLANDO CELEBRATES HERITAGE OF INDIA


Story provided by SHOBANA DANIELL

The tinkling of ankle bells started off the eighth annual Taste of India performances. Stepping on the stage was Shreya Narayanan who gave a graceful rendition of Mohini Attam. This lyrical dance was part of the Kaleidoscope of Dances on March 17, organized by the Chinmaya Mission of Orlando.

Since 1999, this group has held the event to showcase the rich culture of India and highlight the fundamental principle of unity among all groups. The other important reason is to give the youth of the Chinmaya Mission a forum to show their talent, honed by years of study of the various Indian dance forms.

Eight groups presented different styles of dances, ranging from a virtuoso performance of Bharat Natyam by Anusha Ravishankar to youngsters dancing the Dandiya Ras. One of the participants, Radhika Thelapurath, remarked she learnt a lot about India. “Each dance had something similar yet they were all different, I think that is what makes India become complete,” she said.

An enthralled audience of 550 applauded the flawlessly performed dances by the Chinmaya Mission youth. There were quite a few who had never seen Indian dances performed before. Adam Gourewitz, invited by Brahm Aggarwal, was amazed by the “grace, costumes and the expressions” of the dancers.

A short video on the goals of the Chinmaya Mission was shown afterward; Shaila Nadkarni, a member, described the group’s goal: “To spread the knowledge of Vedanta … along with spiritual advancement to achieve oneness with every one and ultimately with God and spread joy and peace”. The Orlando center also offers philosophy, language and dance classes for the youth.

For information, visit www.chinmaymissionorlando.org


TAMPA BAY’S CHANDANI DESAI DOES FLORIDA PROUD
By SHEPHALI JOSHI RELE



Chandani Desai
Chandani Desai, 20, of Largo was named first runner-up in Zee Cinestars talent contest in India on March 10. The aim of the show was to find two potential Hindi film stars.

From 10,000 initial applicants, Desai was selected as one of 60 participants and then chosen as one of 24 semi-finalists on the show, which aired for several months on Zee TV. As part of the competition, the semi-finalists lived for six months in a hotel with other participant as a roommate. During that time, they got to meet their parents only once a week.

Every week, the contestants performed various dances and enacted film scenes. Public voting determined which contestants would be eliminated weekly. Judges for the show were Anupam Kher, Pooja Bhatt and Madhur Bhandarkar. Final selection of the winners was based on public voting.

“It was a great experience and I feel blessed that I got this opportunity,” said Desai in an exclusive interview with Khaas Baat on her first day back from India. “I learned so much about life, acting and dancing and made friends that I am sure will last for a lifetime. I think this is one experience I will always remember.”



Chandani Desai
Desai received a film offer from director-actor Pooja Bhatt but declined because it interfered with her future studies. She is enrolled in a seven-year medical program at the University of South Florida-Tampa. She got a one-year break from college and in fact the dean helped convince her parents to allow Desai to participate in the competition.

She will be resuming her third year in the medical program this summer and plans to take the MCAT next April. Afterward, she plans to return to India to see what opportunities are available. “I know I want to do something in this industry (Hindi films) but first I want to finish my education,” she said.

We wish Chandani Desai the best of luck in all her future endeavors!


GAINESVILLE, MELBOURNE HOLD INDIA FESTIVALS


Melbourne Indiafest.
By NITISH S. RELE - editor@khaasbaat.com

The Feb. 17-18 Indiafest in Melbourne and the March 3 India Festival in Gainesville attracted thousands of people despite the inclement weather.

Both the events featured vendors selling traditional Indian cuisine, attire, jewelry, CDs and DVDs, and arts and crafts. Also, the entertainment programs included a variety of dances – from classical to the more contemporary. The Gainesville and Melbourne organizers termed their respective events a huge success.


Gainesville India Festival.



GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST APPOINTS A.K. DESAI TO THE FLORIDA BOARD OF EDUCATION


Dr. A.K. Desai with Gov. Charlie Crist.
By NITISH S. RELE - editor@khaasbaat.com

Gov. Charlie Crist recently appointed Dr. Akshay (A.K.) Desai as a member of the State Board of Education. The appointment comes both as a recognition of Desai’s expertise and experience in the field of education, and also as a measure to preserver with his work in the field of education and medicine.

“My special interest in the field of education, despite being in medicine,” said Desai, “has to do with my Indian background. Not only Indian Americans are predisposed to academic excellence, but they see education as means of actualizing our potential -- and not just in material terms. That is why you see even among rich business families, children pursue higher education even when they know they have to return to pick up their family business. That is kind of cultural value we place on education.”

Dr. Desai is founder, chairman and CEO of Universal Heath Care, a health insurance firm, and president of American Family & Geriatric Care, both headquartered in St. Petersburg.


RELIGION
PROPHET MOHAMMED (PEACE BE UNTO HIM)
By HUSAIN NAGAMIA, M.D.



Dr. Husain Nagamia.
PART I

The prophet’s birthday was celebrated on March 31, corresponding with the 12th Rabbial Awwal of Islamic Calendar 1428 AH.

To every Muslim on earth, one of the most beloved personalities in his/her life is the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed, peace be unto him.

Prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca about 570 CE. His father Abdalla belonged to the powerful tribe of Koreish, died before his birth. His mother died soon after leaving him orphaned at a young age of 6. He was taken up by his grandfather Abd al Mutallib, and after his death, by his uncle Abu Talib who loved and protected him. From early age, Mohammed was a different child subject to deep contemplation, inquiry and observation. Because of his inherent qualities of truthfulness and trustworthiness early in his youth, he earned the title of Al-Amin.
Read full story




Dr. Kiran Musunuru
CONVERSATIONS WITH A YOUNG SCIENTIST – DR. KIRAN MUSUNURU
By M. P. RAVINDRA NATHAN, MD, FRCP (LONDON AND CANADA), FACP, FACC

It is not often that you come across a prodigious young scientist who is on his way to fulfilling a lot of the promises he held as a child genius. That too in your own backyard. So, it was a pleasure to interview Dr. Kiran Musunuru when he came home to Hudson during a short vacation recently.
Read full story


COLUMN: OUT & ABOUT IN FLORIDA


OUT & ABOUT IN FLORIDA
By NITISH S. RELE - editor@khaasbaat.com

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 to meet the rising needs of businesses and our readers. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at editor@khaasbaat.com

KAVERI HANDICRAFTS UP AND RUNNING IN ORLANDO

Kaveri Handicrafts opened it first furniture showroom in the United States recently in Longwood. Stocked with hundreds of intricately carved and richly painted furniture and artwork from India, the store is in a strip mall.

Beautiful Sankeda sets and Rosewood jhulas, rustic bamboo and jute furniture, regal dining sets fit for a palace, marble murthis of Hindu deities, and gold paintings by Meera Mohan are artfully placed to give you a glimpse of the art and crafts of India. The prices are reasonable, in fact “it is cheaper than buying in India, all pieces are purchased directly from the manufacturers and shipped here,” says Ganesh Ramachandran.

The store owners are Ramachandran and Raju Amin, both local IT professionals with a keen sense of appreciation of the rich tradition of handicrafts from India. They teamed up with Manjunath M. Gopal, CEO of Kaveri Handicrafts of Mysore, to open the showroom in Central Florida.

Kaveri Handicrafts is at 360 N. Highway 17-92, Longwood. For more information, call (321) 206-4995 or click on www.kaverihandicrafts.com

Information for this news item was provided by SHOBANA DANIELL.

RAPID REFILL INK OPENS IN TAMPA BAY AREA


Rapid Refill Inc.

For most people, opening a business that combines everything you are passionate about is merely a dream. However, when Sharmila Roy discovered a company that combined conservation, recycling and community service, her dream became reality. Roy is the owner of Tampa Bay area’s first Rapid Refill Ink at 1265 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. at the Northwoods Center, which has the Super Target as its major anchor.

Rapid Refill Ink specializes in remanufacturing/refilling and retail sales of inkjet and laser toner cartridges for printers, copiers, fax machines and all-in-one machines for both consumers and businesses.

The store at 1265 Bruce Downs Blvd. is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information, call (813) 973-3400 or click on www.rapidrefillink.com

SPICES OF INDIA OPENS IN TAMPA


Spices of India

Heenal Shingala pursued her dream of owning a business for years and now it has come true. The idea for the new store, Spices of India in Tampa, came via a friend in Melbourne. “I did run an Indian boutique from home,” recalls Shingala who is the mother of two children and wife of Mahesh Shingala, a pharmacist.

In September of last year, she came across the 3,000-square-foot facility, formerly a scuba diving place. “Spices is one of the largest stores in the Tampa Bay area,” she says. “I have set up every item in the store conveniently and with the focus on customer service.”

The store sells spices, snack items, vegetables (come in on Friday morning), fresh produce, all grains and rice, nuts, sweets, latest film DVDs, cold and tropical drunks and has “the largest section of frozen foods.”

Spices of India in the Tampa Palms, New Tampa area is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Drop in at 15343 Amberly Drive or call (813) 971-9131.


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 SECTION
Finance | Financial advice | Immigration | Special Needs | Accounting | Business | Labor Law | Asset Protection

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RECIPES
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



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