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Dr. Ravindra Nathan, second from left, visits a relief camp in Kerala
Bay area pitches in for tsunami victims
By NITISH S. RELE - editor@khaasbaat.com

The Dec. 26 tsunami disaster spurred several Tampa Bay area residents to pitch in with donations and other types of aid. Among the groups that sent donations were the Hindu Temple of Florida and Federation of Indian Associations of Tampa Bay, which collected about $40,000. Also, the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding matching every individual contribution.

Khaas Baat columnist Dr. Ravindra Nathan of Brooksville happened to be visiting his home state of Kerala on the day the tsunami hit the shores of South India. He was a few miles away from the beach, attending his annual family reunion and pooja at the time. In his column for this month, Dr. Nathan writes about his experiences (see Health section).

Though it’s been well over a month since the tsunami devastated hundreds of thousands of lives, relief efforts continue on an international scale with donations still pouring in. Here are some of the organizations to which you can send your contributions:

  • American Red Cross, International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013, 1-800-435-7669, www.redcross.org

  • BAPS Care International, 195 Main St., Suite 304, Metuchen, NJ 08840, 1-888-CARE-881 or (732) 744-9734. Donations also can be made through this public charity’s Web site at www.bapscare.org

  • Sewa International USA, 3535 McClure Woods Drive, Duluth, GA 30096, (678) 362-7480, www.sewausa.org




    Bollywood Releases
    By Shephali J. Rele

    This section will be devoted to telling you about creative films that may not have been blockbuster hits but in case you missed it, worth a look. It will also focus on new releases this month.
    Read Story




    Kite-flying day
    About 800 people attended the annual Uttarayan (kite-flying day) on January 16 at Rowlett Park in Tampa, according to Kanti Bakarania, president of Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay. The next Samaj event will be Holi on March 27. The venue is yet to be determined. For more information, click on www.gujaratisamaj.org

    Priti Chowdhury: From Life To Celluloid
    While in her early 30s, Priti Chowdhury went through a divorce from a blond, blue-eyed, all-American boy, whom she had married against the wishes of traditional Indian parents.

    Those experiences and more will come to life on the big screen when the Chicago pediatric anesthesiologist releases “Finding Preet” into movie theaters and the film festival circuit sometime this year.
    Read full story


    Books Worth Reading
    Read four book reviews in this issue of Khaasbaat. One India-born American author spotlights elephants in his latest book "Elephas Maximus: A Portrait of the Indian Elephant."

    Another author with his latest book "Sun After Dark: Flights into the Foreign," carries the reader into the sense of strangeness, and into the expanded sense of possibility strangeness sometimes brings. Read all these reviews and more in our books section.
    Read full story


    Profile: Reef Karim

    Three-in-one. That pretty much sums up the Reef Karim who trots around with three careers under his belt.

    Some days, he is a psychiatrist and addiction fellow on the clinical facility at University of California, Los Angeles’ Neuropsychiatric Institute. Other days, he is a professional dancer and actor. He played the lead in the Indian-American film “Flavors,” and also starred in “Laurel Canyon” and the upcoming “Lords of Dogtown.”
    Read Story


    New York Life to contribute up to $1 million in tsunami aid
    In the aftermath of one of the most horrific natural disasters in human memory, to support the global assistance effort, New York Life will contribute up to $1 million to tsunami relief organizations.

    The company will immediately donate $500,000.00 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s largest humanitarian organization. New York Life also match will contributions by domestic and international employees and agents to designated relief organizations - - an amount expected to reach up to an additional $500,000.

    Meanwhile, members of New York Life family in the affected areas have already volunteered to help in the relief efforts, traveling by the busload to distribute food and medical supplies, giving blood, or pledging personal financial contributions to relief organizations.


    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.
    Read Story

    Send your opinion


    Pension For Knowing

    Don’t procrastinate when it comes to planning for your future. Yes, free time is in short supply and there are many details to keep tabs on, but if you want to live comfortably after retirement, you need to pay attention now to how you will finance those years.
    Read Story




    Rupa Mehta
    New York Life picks Rupa Mehta as Agent of the Year 2004
    New York Life Insurance Company has picked Rupa Mehta in the Tampa general office as New Organization Agent of the Year 2004.

    Mehta received the award in recognition of outstanding achievement and exemplary client service and professionalism, according to Brooks P. Bartlett, managing partner of the office. She also a earned membership in Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) for 2004.

    Mehta has been a resident of Riverhills Country Club, Valrico since April 1995. New York Life Insurance Company, a fortune 100 firm founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world.


    The new SAT and what it means
    The days of the old SAT are over. Gone are the days when students had to complete analogies and quantitative comparisons. The College Board, the body that conducts the SAT exams, made some vital changes.
    Read Story

    Tampa CPA honored to be judge for Miss India-worldwide
    Financial consultant Satya Shaw, CPA, was one of seven judges during the Miss India-Worldwide 2005 held on January 9 at Tulip Star Hotel in Mumbai.
    Read Story

    Self esteem is key to child's success in 2005
    Approximately 20 to 45 percent of school-aged children do not reach their full potential because they suffer from low self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself. It includes self-confidence, self-respect, pride in oneself, independence and self-reliance. Success builds self-esteem and leads to continued success.
    Read Story


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