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Deepak Chopra

California-based Chopra Center is coming to the Sunshine State in March. Motivational speaker and author Deepak Chopra along with David Simon will present “Seduction of Spirit” retreat as a way to learn the secrets of meditation, unlock the stillness that rests within one’s soul and connect to one’s inner essence.

During the March 19-24 retreat at Ponte Vedra Beach Resort (just north of St. Augustine), Chopra and Simon will explore the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, reawaken one’s meditation techniques and practice yoga.

For information, call (888) 736-6895, e-mail or click on

After wrapping up the retreat on the north east coast of Florida, the world-renowned author will come to Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s Carol Morsani Hall for “An Evening with Chopra” on March 25 at 7:30 p.m.

During the Tampa program, Chopra will discuss the nature of consciousness as a fundamental reality that differentiates cognition, moods and emotions, perception, behaviors, biology, social interactions, personal relationships, environment and the forces of nature.

Tickets to see Chopra are $35.50, $45.50 and $100; $100 tickets are for seating in the VIP section and a meet-and-greet before the lecture. For tickets, call (813) 229-7827 or (800) 955-1045 outside Tampa Bay or click on

Anoushka Shankar
Story provided by the Rhythm Foundation

When she was barely 9 years old, the great maestro began giving his baby sitar lessons. The little girl sat quietly and patiently and took in the knowledge and wisdom imparted by the gifted musician.

And those lessons are now before every one of us. Thank you, Pandit Ravi Shankar. Let’s welcome Anoushka into our lives. On to the stage. In Miami.

The 25-year-old will perform music March 24 from her Grammy Award-nominated recording “Rise” at Carnival Center Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.

Among Anoushka’s albums include the 1998 “Anoushka” (Angel/EMI Classics), the 2000 Anourag and the 2001 Live at Carnegie Hall (2001), becoming the youngest artist to be nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best World Music Album category. September 2004 saw the release of her fourth solo album, “Rise,” which features several new compositions played by her and an ensemble of notable musicians from around the world.

The 8 p.m. concert tickets are $15 to $55 and available through the Carnival Center box office at (305) 949-6722 or click on The performance is presented by the Rhythm Foundation ( and Carnival Center.


Anandji of the Kalyanji Anandji fame.

Who hasn’t heard of music legends Kalyanji Anandji? The duo composed music for such classics as “Saraswatichandra,” “Muqaddar Ka Siqqander,” “Zanjeer,” “Don,” “Qurbani,” among several others.

And those very gems will be presented in “Revival: A Live Concert of Immortal Melodies” by Anandji himself on April 8 at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place) in Tampa.

The 6 p.m. concert is being held to raise funds for the Jain Society of Tampa Bay, which looks to build its 2,000-square-foot temple across from the India Cultural Center by year-end. “We are hoping to get at least 1,000 people to attend the event,” said Chetan Shah, chair of the Tampa Revival program. “It will be a good event and a cause worth supporting.”

Tickets are $25, $50, $75, $100, $250 and VIP tickets are $500 and $1,000.

For more information, call the show’s national promoter Dr. Dipak Shah at (813) 486-1074, Pradip Bavishi at (727) 543-1775, Bharti Shah at (813) 966-8500, Dr. Atul Shah at (813) 841-5902 or click on

Story provided by Krish Seetharaman

The new Jacksonville temple.
The longtime dream of the Jacksonville Indian community is on the verge of becoming a reality. The Hindu Society of NE Florida (HSNEF), which was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1989 has grown over the years. Before being incorporated, the Indian community, then about 100 to 300 families strong, would meet in a rented hall for the weekends.

“We used to take our children for classes to acquaint them with our religion and culture,” reminisces Saraswathi Venkatasubban, who has been actively involved in the temple activities since 1996. “With generous donations from benefactors, the current temple building was bought in 1994 and we used it for religious celebrations and cultural events. A group of volunteers took turns in performing rituals like Ganesh puja and Sathyanarayan Puja on the weekends.”

In 1997, the first Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the HSNEF were elected. Then in April 1998, Pundit Srinathji came to Jacksonville to work as the Pradhanacharya. In April 1999, Lord Ganesha was shipped from India and the Sthaapana of Lord Ganesha was performed in a grand ceremony in September 1999. The next year, the Uthsava Murthis of Shri Ram Parivar and Shri Balaji Parivar were welcomed.

The plan and search for permanent abode for Lord Ganesha began in 2001. Venkatasubban says, “The consensus was to look for a site in south side area of Jacksonville where a high percentage of Indian population dwells.”

With countless dedicated hours from volunteers with expertise in real estate, law, construction, architecture, etc., the decision for the new temple site was chosen with proper deliberations. The land in Green Land Road was purchased in 2002. Soon thereafter, the drive for getting donations from the community started. By then, the Indian community was about 700-900 families strong.

The current property was sold in 2005. Additional fund drives were done with events such as Havans, BMW car raffle, etc. After due deliberations, board members decided to bring in other deities – Lord Balaji, Shiva Lingam, Lakshmi Narayana, Shri Ram Parivar, Radha Krishna, Durga Devi and Lord Mahavir. Working out the finances, it was decided to supplement the funds with a bank loan.

Once these decisions were made, things began moving at a quicker pace. The new temple construction started in early 2006, with a planned January 2007 date for the move. It was then changed to March on account of minor construction delays. The deities arrived in January 2007. “All the idols have been made according to Agama Shastra (religious scriptures)” says the temple’s priest Pandit Kadambi Srinathji. “Each of the idols has special features worth seeing.”

The Samprokshana and Praana Prathista ceremony will be from Wednesday, March 21, to Sunday, March 25. The building will be ready for occupation by second week of March. Action plans are being worked out for moving all the deities to the new temple site on March 20. The five-day event will be filled with Havans and Pujas, all performed according to religious scriptures, details of which are available in the temple Web site at .

“We will have cultural programs on March 23 and March 24. The programs include a number of dances and musical performances,” says Dr. Uma Eyyunni, chairperson of the cultural events committee for the Praana Prathista ceremony. “We are encouraging local artists, from North to South and East to West India, to display their talents,” she says. “The cultural programs are a way to exchange global culture.”

The cultural events will be conducted in a huge multipurpose hall adjacent to the worship hall. This hall also will be used to conduct classes for various Indian languages, dance/music, SAT classes for high school children, various technical subjects and lectures and seminars by guest speakers. For major ceremonies, the multipurpose hall also will serve as an extension of the worship hall. ”We want to make this new society building not only the focal point to satisfy the religious need, but also social and cultural needs of the community" said Ravi Sanka, current president of the executive committee of HSNEF.

“Building a new temple is like a dream come true. Building a temple per Indian traditions has been close to Jacksonville area Hindu community for a long time,” says Sarath Kuravi, immediate past president of the executive committee who is coordinating the administrative efforts with the current executive team in making this move happen. “The new temple is opening at the right time when the Indian community is exploding in Jacksonville area with a lot of younger folk making this city as their home.”


A scene from the Marathi play “Bhint.”

If you are a fan of Marathi drama, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity. The Orlando Marathi Mandal in collaboration with Asian Cultural Association will present Ekankika Utsav on March 24 in the Orlando area.

Three one-act plays, “Itakaa Badalaa aahe Bharat (translates into “How Bharat has changed” from Houston at 60 minutes), “Navara vikane aahe (translates into “Husband is for sale” from South Florida at 45 minutes) and Bhint (translates into “The Wall” from Raleigh, N.C. at 45 minutes) will be staged from 1 to 5 p.m. at Lyman High School, 865 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood.

Tickets are $20 and $40. For information and tickets, call Nalini Adhav at (407) 333-2232 or email or call Chitra Deshpande at (407) 345-5161 or e-mail



When he was just 11, Raakin Iqbal used to accompany his TV anchor mother backstage to various shows and award functions. He even flew to Pakistan and met the stalwarts of the rock industry such as Junoon and Strings. At one point in his life, the Virginia high school senior even preferred listening to South Asian music than Western music. “I felt like I wanted to work with these guys,” says Iqbal. And he did, after forming the metropolitan Washington, D.C.-based Huqa Entertainment “to provide pure entertainment through research.” The company specializes in event management and multiple entertainment investments.

‘I don’t want to focus only on organizing and promoting South Asian concerts but also would like to work with mainstream bands,” says the 17-year-old, managing editor of his school’s monthly Valkyrie newspaper, who wants to major in corporate law.

“I am also looking at easy concert booking,” he says. “This would involve working with a budget or the theme of the organizers.”

That should be easy. After all, Iqbal helped with the marketing and promotion for a recent Washington, D.C. concert by Strings, the Pakistani rock group. He is now working out the fine details of a full-fledged U.S. tour by the Pakistani band Call. And the youth plans to put up an Indo-Pak peace concert at the Lahore gate in the summer of 2007.

And how do his parents of Indian and Pakistani origin (father is a software designer and mother a bank loan officer) think of the up-and-coming mogul’s (as The Washington Post labeled Iqbal) promotional plans? “They have been extremely supportive and now that I recently acquired my driver’s license, I have more freedom to go meet potential clients.”

Check out Iqbal’s work at

Story provided by FEZANA

Zoroastrian organizations throughout the United States and Canada will celebrate the ancient festival of NauRooz (pronounced Noh-Rooz), March 21, marking the official celebration of the Zoroastrian New Year 1376 at the turn of the spring equinox. The Zoroastrian Association of Tampa Bay will mark the occasion with prayers and ceremonies on Saturday, March 31, at Sun City Center, about 20 miles south of Tampa.

“The beauty, meaning and symbolism of NauRooz can best be experienced by sharing in our ancient traditions and understanding the depth and breadth of NauRooz as more than just a religious holiday, but a celebration of a new day and a resolve to work for a brighter year ahead,” said FEZANA President and Sun City Center resident Dr. Rustom Kevala. “While we are in no way the only people to celebrate NauRooz, our customs, cultures and celebrations are unique to our religion and our story as a growing religious body in North America.”

North America’s Zoroastrian community largely encompasses Parsis, who arrived from the Indian subcontinent, and those who came directly from Iran seeking religious freedom. “The media in recent years has devoted a lot of ink to our declining population in India, but the untold story is that the North American Zoroastrian community is vibrant and growing, and still celebrating and perpetuating auspicious holidays like NauRooz,” Kevala said. “As we grow in the North American diaspora, it is our responsibility to proactively reach out and educate the public at large, and to showcase the contributions being made each day by Zoroastrians throughout North America, and indeed throughout the world.”


Founded in 1987, FEZANA serves as the coordinating body for 25 Zoroastrian associations throughout the United States and Canada. FEZANA promotes the study, understanding and practice of the Zoroastrian faith in North America, represents the interests of its member associations, and carries out philanthropic and charitable activities worldwide. The FEZANA Journal, FEZANA’s publication of record, circulates to Zoroastrian households in more than 22 countries, as well as to scholars, academicians and religious organizations worldwide. For information, visit

NAUROOZ PIROOZ – A Successful New Year

Date: March 31, 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Place: Florida Room, Atrium Building, Sun City Center, FL 33573 (Directions: From Interstate 75, take exit 240A towards Sun City Center. Turn left on North Pebble Beach Boulevard. Take second right on Cherry Hills Drive. Turn left at North Course Lane to enter parking lot.)

Program: Welcome and NauRooz table set up by children; special NauRooz prayers; slide show; dinner; Zoroastrian Idol contest

Tickets: Adults: $18; children under 12: $10. RSVP by March 10 or earlier to or call (813) 634-0933.

Dr. Rao Musunuru
Story provided by HSCF

Board-certified cardiologist Rao Musunuru, M.D., has been appointed to serve on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Advisory Council, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The National Institute of Health is the primary agency of the federal government, with a budget of $28.5 billion, charged with the conduct and support of biomedical and behavioral research, with major roles in research training and health information dissemination.

The appointment was effective immediately and will end Oct. 31, 2009. Dr. Musunuru will continue to maintain his fulltime active cardiology practice affiliated with Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Dr. Maulik Trivedi
Story provided by Nandini Bandyopadhyay, board member, Pehchaan

As promised, PEHCHAAN (Providing Educational, Humanistic, and Cultural Hope for the south Asian American Network) organized its first workshop on Feb. 11 in Tampa. The topic for the workshop was in keeping with the survey it had taken before to sense the need of the community. Stress management was one of the top issues that were a concern and we were rewarded with an informative and relaxing workshop on the subject. Dr. Maulik Trivedi was the honored speaker in this event.

Trivedi is a board-certified psychiatrist and a regular speaker for organizations such as the Federation of Families, NAMI (The National Alliance for Mentally Ill) and ChADD (Children and Adults with ADD).

Trivedi named his presentation as “Jeevan Kala- the Art of Life.” As we are aware, the source of stress can originate from both internal and external circumstances. And we often tend to react to a situation which later proves to be quite insignificant in the big scheme of things. He pointed out that stress, simplistically put, is the gap between the problems we face and the solutions we need to find. He emphasized on individual threshold for managing stress. He even had a section on meditation where the audience got to de-stress themselves by listening to calming music and words.

We hope that you, our readers, will also be a part of our next venture in making PEHCHAAN a true identity.

For more information, email or call Sushama Kirtikar at (813) 810-2470.


Amol Nirgudkar

For many years, we advised clients to gift securities and other income earning instruments to their teenagers, so that the income generated by the teens would be taxed at the children’s lower tax rate. As long as the kids were 14 or above, the investment income earned from the parents’ gift was taxed at rates as low as 15 percent. In May 2006, Congress changed the law to significantly expand the reach of the Kiddie Tax. The change will make the Kiddie Tax apply to children who have not attained the age of 18 before the close of the tax year, effective with the 2006 tax year. The tax impact of this change could be significant to children who were privileged to receive significant gifts of securities from their parents.

Despite the law change, the small exemption from Kiddie Tax continues to apply. For 2006, the first $850 of an under age 18 child’s earned income is tax-free, and the next $850 is taxed at the child’s marginal rate (generally 10 percent). But, unearned income exceeding $1,700 is taxed at the parents’ highest income tax rate, as long as the child has not reached age 18 by the end of the year.

It is important to note that the Kiddie Tax only applies to unearned income (passive income like interest, dividends, rents, capital gains). It does not apply to wages or other income earned by the child. Therefore, if you are a small business owner and decide to employ your 15-year-old to help with some filing, that income is not subject to the Kiddie Tax.

How much does it cost me?

The tax cost of this law change can be significant depending on how much investments your children have. For example, if your 16-year-old child makes $10,000 in interest income in 2006, under the old rules his tax liability would be $1,000. Under the new rules, the child would end up owing over $3,200 in tax.

For dividends and long-term capital gains, the tax penalty is much less severe. Typically, the child is taxed at a 5 percent rate on dividends and capital gains, whereas the parents are taxed at 15 percent. Thus, the additional penalty from the Kiddie Tax is only 10 percent.

Investment Strategies

In some cases, the implications of the Kiddie Tax could be significant enough to cause a realignment of the under-age-18 child’s investments. Rather than incur the parents’ high tax rate on investment earnings, it may make sense to shift the child’s investments to growth equities that pay little or no dividends. These include tax-exempt municipal bonds or tax-sheltered savings vehicles such as IRAs and qualified tuition/Section 529 plans.

Tax Preparation Complexity

The most confusing aspect of this Kiddie Tax law change is its implementation (i.e. the added tax return preparation hassle). If a child under age 18 has over $1,700 of investment income, that child’s tax return needs to be carefully coordinated with the parents’ return. In some cases, you can report the child’s investment income on the parent’s tax return. In many cases, a complicated schedule must be added to the child’s return that integrates both the parents’ and child’s income to arrive at the proper Kiddie Tax. This means that the child’s return can no longer be done separately and filed early.

If you are preparing your teenager’s tax return, it will be important to determine if the Kiddie Tax may apply. If the child’s return is prepared without considering the new law change, it can get considerably expensive and time consuming to correct the situation. As you get ready to file your 2006 tax returns, consult your tax adviser if there is any doubt as to whether the Kiddie Tax applies to you and your family.


The Association of Indians in America (AIA), South Florida Chapter, is proud to announce its Scholarship Program for high school seniors from the Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties seeking to enter an institution of higher learning.

Applicants must be of Indian descent and must be members of the AIA Association for at least a year prior to making application. Scholarships are offered in two categories – one for academic merit, leadership and community involvement and the other for financial need. Applicants in the category of financial do not have to satisfy the membership requirement.

The application deadline is March 15. Further information may be obtained from the Web site at or by calling Joyce Campos at (954) 752-7573



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


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

Information for this news item was provided by SHOBANA DANIELL.


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


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.



Last year, we had written about a new bimonthly national magazine “The Indian American” from New York started by Dr. Akshay Desai, a good friend of Khaas Baat. The CEO and president of Universal Health Care in St. Petersburg was kind enough to send us the January-February 2007 issue of his magazine, which appears to be picking up momentum with a readership base of 40,000. The magazine seeks to inform, analyze and entertain people of South Asian origin in the U.S.

The cover story of the fifth issue of “The Indian American” is about desis in the New York Police Department. In-depth profiles of TV news anchor Sukanya Krishnan and Western classical music artist Monica Yunus (daughter of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus) make for interesting reading. There also are stories on “What Indian Men want from the other sex,” “Novel Indians” and an “American Confession on Bollywood.”

Annual subscription to “The Indian American” is $12. To subscribe, click on

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

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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

Children's Health
As the colder fall and winter months approach, the whole array of colds and allergies come into practice as a pediatrician. In this article, I would like to share some valuable information with most of the parents who have to deal with these common childhood illnesses.
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