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Dr. Ravindra Nathan, second from left, visits a relief camp in Kerala
Bay area pitches in for tsunami victims

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,

  • 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

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

    Bollywood Releases
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    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.
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    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

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    Rupa Mehta
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    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.

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