JUNE 2011
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida



Story submitted by Shobana Daniell

Dinesh Gandhi

Dinesh Gandhi, a former president of the Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, has been appointed chairman of the 24th India Festival to be held Saturday, Nov. 12, in Tampa. The announcement was made by the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of the Samaj, which holds the annual event.

This year’s India Festival will be at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N. “It will be a much bigger and spacious facility,” said Gandhi. “We are already working on making it a grand success.”

For more information, e-mail indiafest2011@gmail.com, dineshgandhi5@hotmail.com or visit www.indiafestivaltampa.com




Just like typical college students, two Central Florida seniors group took to the road this spring; the Gujarati Society of Central Florida’s senior group on April 24 went on a picnic to Blue Springs Park and a tour of a retirement home, while the Hindu Society of Central Florida’s (HSCF) senior’s group took off for a day trip May 1 to Hard Rock Café. Both trips were popular and the big tour buses were filled to capacity; while the Gujarati seniors enjoyed the outdoors with a picnic, river boat tours and viewing the wild life on St. John’s River, the HSCF group had a rocking time at the Hard Rock Casino.

Formed in March, the picnic was the Gujarati Society’s first major event. HSCF seniors have been holding activities first Sunday of each month for the past nine years. Both groups cater to the needs of the seniors with the objective of keeping them active, involved and informed.

For more information on the Gujarati Society seniors group, call Yogendra Pandya at (407) 504-6031. For details on HSCF seniors group, which meets the first Sunday of every month from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at the Hindu Temple Community Hall, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, call Madan Arora at (407) 971-9259, Dev Sharma at (407) 862-9920 or e-mail hscfnewagegroup@yahoo.com.



An Indian classical instrumental concert “The New Generation” will take the stage Saturday, July 16, in Tampa. The concert featuring Anupam Shobhakar on sarod,

Abhik Mukherjee on sitar, Jay Gandhi on flute and Shankhachur Lahiri on tabla is presented by Swaradhana and USF Center for India Studies.

The 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. concert at College of Public Health Auditorium, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., will begin with a "Saraswati vandana"  by Pandit Jasraj School of Music students.

A professional sarod player, Shobhakar was born in Calcutta. His grandfather was an accomplished sarodist. Anupam has been practicing since the age of 8, and he studies under renowned sarod guru Ustad Aashish Khan. Anupam has recorded two albums of his own compositions, "Mysterious Awakening" and "Wine of the Mystic" (2006); and "Dream Theory." (2008)

A native of Calcutta, Mukherjee is known as torch-bearer of the Imdadkhani-Etawah gharana among the younger generation. He received a national scholarship in sitar from the Indian ministry of culture. He is a visiting-faculty member at the Pandit Jasraj School of Music in Tampa.

A devoted student of the world-renowned bansuri maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Gandhi has performed across the globe, enthralling audiences in India, Europe, the Middle East and America. He also completed an Individual Major in Jazz Performance at Oberlin College/Conservatory of Music (Ohio).

Lahiri comes from a family with a strong tradition of Indian classical music. He is a Sangeet Visharad in both vocal and tabla. He has performed with many reputed musicians. He is a regular faculty member at the Pandit Jasraj School of Music, Tampa.

Early bird special is $25 until July 13. (Dinner, tea/coffee included.) Sponsorship is $125 until July 13. (four tickets and dinner, tea/coffee included, reserved seating.) Tickets are $35 after July 13 (dinner, tea/coffee Included.) The concert is free for children younger than 16 years of age and USF students with valid student ID. ($5 per person for boxed Indian dinner and tea/coffee). Seat must be reserved for children younger than 16 years of age and students. To reserve your ticket, email tickets@swaradhana.org For more information, email info@swaradhana.org


Khaas Baat columnist and financial adviser at New England Financial Dev Goswami was recently picked as the Diversity Award winner by the Jacksonville Business Journal. In fact, Goswami was the only Indian American out of 10 to receive the honor.

The Journal noted that Goswami was one of the founding members, a former president and board chairman of the Indo-U.S. chamber of Commerce of Northeast Florida. Also, he served as a board member of the Jacksonville Mayor’s Asian American Advisory Board, the First Coast Asian-American Chamber of Commerce and as treasurer of the Hindu Society of Northeast Florida in the past. He was a member of the founding group and a director for the Gandhi Memorial Society in Jacksonville.

Also, the Journal selected several Indian Americans for its list of 40 Minority-Owned Businesses list of 40. In the list were Meridian Technologies led by Christopher Pillay, W.W. Gay Fire & Integrated Systems led by Nandu Paryani, Kasam Hospitality (Mack Patel), Software Integration Services (Ravindra Pilli), The Party Shop (Riona Soni and Amal Soni), Harvest Software Solutions (Ravi Bandaru), Prism Consulting Services (Manish Kothari and Prachi Rathi), Akshar Hospitality (Jayesh Patel), Integrated Webworks (Pathik Shah and Vinita Shah), Seventhman (Shaleen Shah) and Paryani Engineers (Gul Paryani).

For more information, visit www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville


Story provided by SHOBANA DANIELL

Akshay Save

Akshay Save, a senior at Lake Mary High School, was recently named as 2011 Presidential Scholar. He is among 141 students from U.S. high schools named as winners of this award. Akshay has perfect scores in SAT Math and English, is an accomplished violinist, tennis player and has performed various community services.

This talented and hard working young man ascribes his success to his parents, Smita and Vinod Save of Longwood for emphasizing “hard work and high standards for academic achievements.” Akshay will join Duke University this fall semester and plans to major in mathematics.

Being a good role model, his advice to students for preparing for such awards “you need superior academic achievements, leadership roles, participation in sports, music, research, extracurricular activities and community service. There is no magic formula to cracking the SAT: the only way to prepare yourself is to practice and study for it.” Akshay was a student at the Casselberry Hindu Society of Central Florida’s SAT tutoring classes managed by Shan Sankar. The HSCF temple recognized his achievement at their annual Saraswati/graduation puja for all students on May 29.

More than 3000 students are selected for this award and are invited to apply based on their SAT scores and extracurricular activities. This year, there were 15 Indian American students among the winners. All Presidential Scholars’ will be honored by President Obama in mid-June at a White House ceremony in Washington, D.C.


Tampa Bay International Curry Festival (TBICF) will feature curries prepared by people from all over the world. Its overall theme will be to spotlight the varieties of amazing curry cuisines, food preparation seminars and demonstrations, music performances, and adult beverages that are paired with curries. Taste your way around the world at the event of flavor.

TBICF will showcase a myriad of national, local chefs, restaurants, individuals, and caterers all vying to claim the first-place cash prize of 5,000 but most important, the bragging rights of having the best curry at this year’s Tampa Bay Curry Cook Off. The festival will also provide attendees the opportunity to taste various types of curries from all over the world, i.e. United States, India, Africa, Thailand, China, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Canada and England and parts of the Caribbean. The mission is about bringing awareness of the value of “curry” and promote the recognition of East Indian influence in the world of culinary delights.

When: Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Bayanihan Arts and Events Center 14301 Nine Eagles Drive, Tampa, FL 33626
(813) 925-1232
All are welcome to participate, attend and sponsor the event.
Attendance: Expect anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000.
Free to attend with special food tasting packages available.
Why: To celebrate curry influence in the world and support various organizations and charities.

Event proceeds will go directly to various organizations and charities that help support global education and work toward reducing world hunger in Asia and throughout the world.

For more information or to sign up for the competition, call Ram Jakhotia at (813) 863-3048 or Dr. Sadhana Ramcharran at (727) 798-4258 or visit www.tbicf.com


Vilas Tonape, a dear friend of Khaas Baat and a well-known artist, visited the Ambaji Mandir of Tampa Bay in Pinellas Park recently. The Lakeland resident did a live painting of Swami Omdev Yogi. About 350 devotees attended a Rudra Abhishek during which Swami Omdev conducted pooja and shloka vidhi. Guruji’s motto is “teach yoga to everyone and educate our children about our religious and cultural values.” Also present were community leaders Dr. Harish Patel, Dr. Rajan Nayak and Raxit Shah.

Ambaji Mandir is at 10991 58th St. in Pinellas. For more information, call the mandir at (727) 388-6685, e-mail ambajitemple@gmail.com or visit www.ambajimandir.org

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