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Story provided by the Hindu Collective Initiative

The Hindu Collective Initiative of North America will hold the second bi-ennial Hindu Dharma Summit 2007 conference Dec. 14-16 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

According to the latest census data, there are more than 2.5 million Hindus living in America and they have built more than 700 Hindu temples and organizations. The purpose of this conference is to bring together all Hindu organizations in USA to identify issues of common interest and work towards solving or resolving them. The theme is: The Future of Hindu Dharma in North America.

This conference was inspired by Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Paramhansa Nityananda, Paramacharya Palaniswami of Hawaii, Swami Aksharananda of Guyana, Pranav Pandya of All World Gayatri Pariwar and several other Hindu leaders have committed support to the objectives of this conference which is: to bring together on one platform leaders of all Hindu sampradayas and organizations, as well as top Hindu professors, intellectuals and community leaders, including western Hindus and Caribbean Hindus, to network and discuss common issues to assure a bright future for Hindu Dharma in North America.

To register ($150 registration fee at the door) for the conference, visit, e-mail or call Ved P. Chaudhary at (732) 972-1489.

Legend Dev Anand

More than 12,000 people from all over Florida and even neighboring states attended the 20th annual India Festival Oct. 20 in Tampa. The highlight of the daylong festivities was a rocking performance by popular young singer Raghav.

India Festival Chairperson Swapna Shah and the India Festival Committee of the Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay organized the successful event, which featured several exciting new attractions in addition to Raghav’s electrifying performance. For the first time, there was a singing competition called Voice of Florida in collaboration with the Pandit Jasraj School of Music. The judges named Saagar Daliya of Fort Myers the winner. His prize was a round-trip ticket to India.

A surprise special guest was the evergreen hero himself, Dev Anand. Dev Saab delighted the crowd as he spoke about his autobiography, “Romancing with Life.” Also in attendance was Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Singer Raghav entertains the crowd with a rocking performance.
Another first at this year’s festival was four large projection screens installed so that people shopping or munching wouldn’t miss the entertainment on the main stage. Vendors selling tasty treats were located in designated food court areas so as not to crowd the shopping areas where the latest styles in fashion and jewelry among other items could be found. As always, one of the main attractions was the daylong dance competition featuring garba, raas, folk dance, bhangra and classical dance.

Dahan ceremony during Dussehra at Sanatan Mandir. DiwalifireworksCutline: Fireworks during the Diwali festival at the Sanatan Mandir.
Story provided by Sanatan Mandir

The Sanatan Mandir at 311 E. Palm Ave. in Tampa recently held Dussehra and Diwali events. More than 300 people attended the Dussehra festival, which celebrates the defeat of Ravana at Ram’s hands (and signifies the triumph of good over evil). Community members constructed a 20-foot-tall effigy of Ravana and Dahan ceremony was performed on the mandir's grounds.

Also, the Sanatan Mandir celebrated its annual Diwali festival with Chopda/Laxmi pooja, dinner and fireworks. For more information, call the mandir at (813) 221-4482 or visit


Sunita Saran, a laser pelviscopic surgeon specializing in gynecological endocrinology, infertility and oncology in Sarasota/Bradenton, and husband Vijay, recently held a gala evening at her home in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The cardiovascular surgeons and other medical professionals were in India for the annual International Cardiovascular Symposium.

Among the 180 guests were Dr. El Shahway, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Florida; Dr. Tom Kelly, cardiac surgeon and board member of Sarasota Memorial Hospital; Dr. and Mrs. H. Kulman; Dr. and Mrs. I. Soussou and several others.

“I and my husband represented all the physicians and non-physician Americans of Indian origin, as was requested by all of the Gujarati Samaj in Bradenton, Sarasota and Tampa,” said Saran. “So, this evening was an avenue to thank our countrymen here and make them feel at home at ‘Florida House’ in our homeland.”

The evening also included exotic food and entertainment with music by a DJ.

Story provided by Eckerd Youth Alternatives

Nick Dewan
Nick Dewan of Tampa Bay has been named to the Board of Directors of Eckerd Youth Alternatives Inc. (EYA), which helps at-risk and high-risk children.

An internationally recognized psychiatrist, Dewan is considered an expert in healthcare quality, information technology and sports psychiatry.

In addition to his private practice in Clearwater, he is the president of the Center for Mental Health Improvement, which is actively involved in establishing and disseminating evidence-based best practices for mental healthcare. He also is the past president of the American Association for Technology in Psychiatry.

Dewan chairs the Mental Health Work Group of the International Medical Informatics Association based in Geneva Switzerland and is working with leaders around the world to promote the use of technology for improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare.

He developed the world’s first PC-based point-of-care outcomes management system for psychiatric hospitals, and was the founding editor of the first patient education software in behavioral health. He is coauthor of “Behavioral Healthcare Informatics” and a consultant on the use of information technology and best practice guidelines for improved behavioral health outcomes.

To learn more about EYA, visit


Harish Patel
What is Home Healthcare?

Home health care is a health related care provided to individuals and families in their place of residence for promoting, maintaining or restoring health; or for minimizing the effects of disability and illness, including terminal illness. In the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey and Medicare claims and enrollment data, home health care refers to home visits by professionals including nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists and home health aides.

Is home healthcare for you?

Are you 65 or older?
Are you discharged from a hospital or a nursing home?
Do you live in an assisted living facility and your physician has prescribed home health care for you?
Have you been diagnosed with a new illness?
Has your medication recently changed?
Has your medical condition recently changed?
Do you require therapy services?
Do you require infusion services?
Do you have difficulty driving?
Do you have difficulty with daily activities?
Would you rather be cared for at home?
Who will pay for your home health care?

If you have Medicare as your primary insurance, the home health care agency will directly bill Medicare, there shall be no cost to you. The home health agency will provide as many visits as are required by nurses, therapists, social workers or home health aides, based on a two month plan of care approved by your physicians. If you’ve opted for an HMO, such as Humana, WellCare, United Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc., these HMO’s will restrict the number of visits available to you, thereby restricting the quality of home health care. Your medication costs should be covered by part D of Medicare.

There's no place like home for healing.

This unique service is delivered where patients need it most, in their own surroundings. It is focused on providing patients with the functional skills necessary to participate in practical daily activities at home, school and work, or in the community where they live.

Which home health care agency would you select?

You want a home health care agency which is locally owned and operated, where the owner/administrator is easily accessible to answer your questions. You want the agency that is dedicated to providing high quality, reliable, and cost effective care to clients and their families.

You want an agency that provides professional staff, which is thoroughly screened, to provide care in the comfort and privacy of your own home, hospital or facility setting. An agency should have a goal to put the patient first and keep seniors living independently as long as possible, aging with dignity, while providing a safe environment. Each case should receive care based on the patient’s unique situation. The plan of care should be individualized based on the patient’s need. Registered nurses and a service coordinator are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The agency should be flexible in providing care. Follow-up and communication determine the agency of choice for many seniors.

How does it work?

The agency’s expert team should create a customized treatment plan based on the physician's orders and the patient's goals. For example, if a patient wants to do physical activities, that will become part of the rehabilitation routine. When patients have a realistic goal — such as returning to a beloved pastime or going back to work — rehabilitation becomes real.

As advances in health care technology and improvements in lifestyle choices increase the lifespan, and as baby boomers reach old age, there will be an increasing number of older Americans with health problems and disabilities. Most individuals with illness and disability prefer to remain at home where they can receive care and support from family members and friends. Home health care is any kind of health care service that is provided to clients at home. Home health agencies emphasize short term post-acute rehabilitative services. Services include basic care from home health aides, to skilled care from registered nurses and therapists.

Most people wish to receive the medical care they need in their own homes, or with a friend or relative, rather than enter a nursing facility.

While there are a great number of home health care services available in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Manatee counties — offering everything from health care to personal care, nutrition, social and safety needs — not all services are available in every community. And not every medical and personal service need can be met by every agency.

Home health care involves skilled nursing or therapy services, which differentiates it from home care. Home care includes only care to assist with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and walking.

To be continued.

Harish L. Patel, M.S., has had extensive home health care training for the past six years. He has worked for IBM, Verizon, Washington, D.C. government and the George Washington University. He holds a master’s degree in Information Systems Technology from the George Washington University and a second master’s degree in engineering from the University of Manchester, England. He can be reached at HPATEL1108 or call (813) 514-8400.

Story provided by Krish Seetharaman

The Hindu Society of North East Florida in Jacksonville celebrated Children’s Day Nov. 4. Multiple race events were organized for children of all ages. The children had a gala time participating in lemon and spoon race, one-legged race, backward walking race, arithmetic race, tug of war, etc. About 55 to 60 children were given certificates – everybody was a winner!

Alongside, to involve the adults, a Rangoli competition was held inside the temple. Eighteen teams participated in this event and each of the teams came with creative designs – some were traditional-connected dot Rangoli while others were art designs. Winners were announced from each category.


An enduring story of love, courage and the struggles faced by American immigrants, “The Namesake” from Fox Home Entertainment is now available on DVD. In her most personal film to date, director Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “Vanity Fair”) brings to screen a sophisticated and touching masterpiece based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri.

“The Namesake” follows two generations of the Ganguli family as they immigrate to the U.S. from India to experience a world of limitless opportunities, only to be challenged to find the links between the world they left behind and the new world that lies in front of them. Kal Penn as Gogol (“National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle”) delivers a sharp and dedicated performance as confused and vulnerable young Indian-American.

His non-American, yet non-Indian name finds him estranged from his heritage in the midst of American culture; and he learns to tread a razor-thin line between his Bengali roots and his American birthright as he tries in vain to convince his parents – played award winning Bollywood star Irrfan Khan (“Salaam Bombay!”, “Maqbool”) and Tabu (“Maachis,” “Chandni Bar”) – to support his desire to change his name to Nikhil. Genuinely believing there could be no name more fitting for their son, they must find a way to remain faithful to their cultural traditions while coming to terms with their son’s Western outlook resulting in both comical and revelatory consequences

“The Namesake” DVD includes English Dolby Digital 5.1 with English, French and Spanish sub-titles. Bonus features include director’s commentary, deleted scenes, the anatomy of “The Namesake: A Class at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School,” Kolkata Love Poem and Photography as Inspiration.

The DVD is available for $27.98.
Read the review of The Namesake



Based on my personal experiences, human mind is less motivated to do physical exercise and even effort. This has resulted in the discovery of locomotives and gadgets, which limit effort. Fancy cars with automatic transmission, elevators and power tools are some of the examples. In addition, television and computers (especially Internet) are taking over (and consuming) minds of the people.

A person chooses hours of watching Sunday football rather than gardening or talking a walk. I believe human psyche works on pleasure vs. pain principle – avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Unless you vigorously exercise to produce endorphins to create recruiting effect, exercise in general is perceived as discomfort by most of my clients.

Though the information about non-activity has become widespread, it has not "zeroed in." The new food pyramid of the United States Department of Agriculture has incorporated exercise as a facet to a diet prescription.

“Regular physical activity improves aerobic capacity, muscular strength, body agility (quickness) and coordination, and metabolic functioning, exemplified by improvements in bone density, lipid profiles, insulin levels and immune function.”

When it comes to body weight, remember this: 1 pound = 3,500 calories. For every pound you want to lose, you must burn 3,500 calories worth of energy. The only way to do that is to move more.

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It uses up oxygen, causing your body to burn stored fat. For example, you'll expend about 100 calories by walking a mile. That might not seem like a lot at first, but just think about it.

Most people average just less than 3 miles through the course of their day. If you add an enjoyable morning jaunt or a brisk (fast) evening walk you could easily move 4 miles a day. If you walk 4 miles four times a week, you can burn 1,600 calories! That's half a pound of fat gone. Add more steps to your day while making sure not to eat more calories than you use, and your body can't help but trim down.

Walking also strengthens muscles, which tones and shapes the body. The increased muscle mass boosts your metabolism. This means you burn calories long after you stop moving. And you don't have to get all of your walking in at once. If you don't have time for long walks, find pockets of time throughout your day for short jaunts.

Performing a meditation makes the experience of walking even more focused. While walking you are able to become more mindful and more aware of the entire process as you bring your attention to the actual experience of walking.

Try the following techniques when walking:

Focus on the body's sensations. Become aware of the movement throughout your body.
Focus on counting. Count each step: 1, 2, 3... until 10. When you reach 10, start over again.
Notice your movements. Concentrate on the activity and each phase of a foot's movement.
Focus on the breath. Breathe normally. Notice the steps that are taken as you inhale and exhale.
Focus on the energy. Feel the energy flow, up from the ground to you, from you to the earth.
Focus on a mantra or an affirmation. Repeat a phrase in rhythm with your steps. "I am calmer."
Focus on the shifting of weight. Feel the body weight as it transfers from one part to another.
Focus on the mental processes. Become aware of the thought that initiates moving your foot.

Achyut Mashruwala is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer from ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association). He works at Bally Total Fitness Center on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa but can train clients at a fitness studio location of their choice. Mashruwala can be reached at (813) 857-5103 or e-mail



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


If you haven’t met Terry and Hira Shah, you have missed out on meeting one of the finest couples in the New Tampa area. The couple, both from England, opened Indian Grocery at 10046 Cross Creek Blvd. about 19 months ago and Tiffin restaurant nearly three months ago.

The 1,200-square-foot (10044 Cross Creek Blvd.) restaurant has a permanent seating for 14. “We are more of a mom-and-pop eatery,” says Terry. “Tiffin is small, friendly and we offer personal service. All evening meals are freshly prepared.”

And all meat is halal, he reminds us. Plus, he reduces 10 percent on any takeout meal in the evening.

Ready to pack your tiffin? Well, just call Terry at (813) 451-1611. And while you are at the restaurant, you can do your grocery shopping next door at the couple’s Indian Grocery.


The authentic South Indian vegetarian cuisine, which also has locations in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, has opened in the Longwood/Orlando area. Udipi Café is at 1275 S. Highway 17-92. It is open for lunch buffet every day from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Here’s what Scott Joseph of the Orlando Sentinel had to say in a review of Udipi recently, “A meal here can be an exciting adventure for those willing to try something out of the ordinary. And it can be an inexpensive yet filling meal – trust me, you won’t miss the meat.”

For more information, call (407) 696-7775. And if you are in Tampa, we also highly recommend Udipi Café at 14422 N. Dale Mabry Highway. The eatery is open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. It offers outdoor catering and Dosa parties.

For more information, call (813) 962-7300 or click on


House of Ganesh in Tampa has moved just across the street to a new location. Now, the store that offers all pooja supplies, Indian tapestry, jewelry (wholesale only) and clothing, murtis, curry power, dance outfits, religious DVDs and CDs, incense and books, is located at 11612 Nebraska Ave., Suite D, Tampa, FL 33612.

“We now have more items and in a much larger store,” says co-owner Suneil Persaud. For information, call (813) 579-8205 or visit


Sham and Kavita Kamlani have opened Ishq restaurant in Miami Beach. Victor Pesce Elliott of the Miami Herald recently wrote about the eatery, “The menu is a culinary tour of India, from creamy northern curries to spicy southern vegetarian stews along with lovely charred breads and some of the best tandoor dishes I’ve tasted.”

Ishq at 530 Ocean Drive is open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. daily and later on the weekends. For information, call the restaurant at (305) 532-4747.


We can attest to their delicious foods in the Jacksonville restaurant by the same name, where we ate some months ago. So, it was just a matter of time before Jay Chaudary, Sanju Rajak and two other co-owners would open Cilantro Indian Cuisine in the Temple Terrace area of Tampa Bay.

Cilantro, which offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, as well has a huge banquet-style room, is open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Lunch is noon to 3 p.m. and dinner is 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant, which also has a bar with several Indian beers and wine, will cater any party or host a party in its banquet-size hall.

Cilantro is at 11009 N. 56th St. in Temple Terrace or call (813) 983-8220. Also, visit


Folks in Fort Myers can check out another Indian restaurant. Khayru Zaman recently opened Indian Dining & Aladeens Sweet at 535 Pine Island Road.

The restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For information, call (941) 543-0800.


Not many people are aware that the veteran cook Sushma Patel learnt cooking from her late husband Sudhir.

“Sudhir was more into cooking and I slowly picked up from him,” Sushmabein told us a while ago. “At the time of our marriage, I didn’t know any cooking whatsoever.”

Now, Sushmabein who had been preparing food from her home since 1995, has taken over NS Foods in Tampa. The home of the idli and dosa for more than a decade also offers such special items as chaat puri, pani puri, behl puri, samosa chaat, kachori, uttampam, medu vadai and more.

Since she bought NS Foods some months ago, Sushmabein has put in new flooring, paint and is selling all-new groceries. “We have fresh Indian vegetables delivered every Friday,” she says.

And, of course, the restaurant offers North and South Indian food. “Plus, we cater any event, whether it’s a birthday party, wedding, shower, dinner party or any other special occasion,” she says. In fact, she can cater a party of up to 2,000 people like she has done in the past for Gujarati Samaj Diwali dinners.

NS Foods has a lunch buffet for $6.54 plus tax from Monday through Friday, which includes two vegetables, two types of rice, a roti, two appetizers, two or three sweets and fruits.

NS Foods is in the Cacciatore Plaza at 5522 Hanley Road in Tampa and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For information, call (813) 243-1522 or (813) 317-7291.


Namaste, originally known as Kohinoor, has moved to a new location in Clearwater. The BIO (British, Indian & Oriental Groceries) store is now at 2475 N. McMullen Booth Road, Unit H, Clearwater, FL 33759. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

For information, call (727) 669-3737. Ask for Hoosein Hassan. He will be more than happy to assist you.

Mental Health Column

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