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Story provided by Jain Society of Tampa Bay

The Jain Society of Tampa Bay will be celebrating opening of the Jain Temple from Nov. 27 through Nov 30, which is during Thanksgiving weekend. The program includes Pratishtha Sthapana and cultural program in the evening. On Thursday evening, there will be Garba and Raas. Friday and Saturday evening program includes a drama on Parshwanath Bhagavan Janma Mahotsav. Different type of pujas will be performed in the morning in the presence of Jaina scholars.

"This project has been in works for the last eight years and we are excited to have our own facility," said Rupesh Shah, president of the Jain Society. "We have about 100-plus Jain families and this provides us a unique opportunity to get together for lectures and prayers as well as allow us to pass on our culture and heritage to young generation."

The overall project cost has been $1.3 million. "We are thankful of all donors who have contributed significantly to make this project successful," said Shah. "A major donation for the hall has been received from Bharatbhai and Kiniben Shah while land has been donated by Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel and we are fortunate to be in right location with the India Cultural Center and Hindu Temple of Florida making us feel like our temple is set up in India and surrounded by open land."

The invitation is open to all community members with registration. Visit for more details.


About 2,500 people are expected to attend the third annual Talent Show & Group Dance Competition Saturday, Nov. 15 in Orlando. Admission is free.

Presented by the Gujarati Society of Central Florida, the event will begin at 5 p.m. at Linda W. Chapin Auditorium, Orange County Convention Center Hall C, International Drive. Nearly 300 participants in these categories, minor (5 to 10 years old), junior (10 to 15 years old) and seniors (15 years and above) will take to the stage. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, choreography and overall performance.

"We have participants coming from Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville and other places," said organizer Alka Shukla. "The competition is a great event to hold since it brings out the talent of our children and keeps them in touch with our culture too."

For more information, call Alka Shukla at (407) 221-3517, Neil Kapadia at (407) 832-3835, via v-mail at or visit

AACSA President Satya Shaw.

More than 800 small business owners and 200 physicians are expected to attend the fourth annual Asian American Convenience Stores Association (AACSA) convention Nov. 22 in Tampa. The event at India Cultural Center will feature booths offering information on financial, supplies, environmental, and clothing boutiques, among other services.

Among the dignitaries that will attend during the daylong event are AAPI Chairman Dr. Raj Gupta, AAHOA Chairman Ash Patel and Florida Congressmen.

Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. with inauguration of booth exhibition at 1:30 p.m. Power educational sessions will start at 2:30 p.m., followed by a gala banquet and award ceremony from 5 to 6 p.m.

Afterward, the group Sunhare Pal will perform old and new superhit songs. "The event is nearly sold out," said AACSA President Satya Shaw.

The Asian American store ownership, believed to be the fastest growing minority group in the U.S., has a purchasing power of over $80 billion.

For more information, call Satya Shaw at (813) 842-0345 or visit

Story provided by Thayumanasamy Somasundaram

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the 11th Annual Cultural Glimpses on Saturday, Nov. 15, in Tallahassee. Organizing the 4 to 7 p.m. event at Chiles High School Auditorium, 7200 Lawton Chiles Lane is the India Association of Tallahassee (IATH). Admission to the program is free and the event is open to the public. However, participation in the performances is limited to members and their families.

IATH ( is devoted to promoting the cultural, social and educational activities of people from the Indian sub-continent. One of the aims of the association is to share the rich cultural heritage of India with the local communities.

The cultural program will start at 4. Children as young as 2˝ years and adults dressed in brilliantly colored Indian costumes will begin the program with two prayer songs which will be followed by a skit and a classical dance by children about Ramayana and Dasavathar.

Then the association's members and their families will perform several classical and contemporary songs and dances. After snacks, adults of all ages will sing many melodious songs, perform several dance numbers and a skit that reflect the cultural and social fabric of India.

For more information about the program and membership, e-mail Subhasis Das ( or Thayumanasamy Somasundaram (


After a two-year hiatus, Indo-US Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring Thanksgiving Day dinners this year. Amid the economic turmoil, this year it is planning to reach out to at least 125 needy families in Dover in eastern Hillsborough County.

The presentation of the dinner certificates has been scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Dover Elementary School on Wednesday, Nov.19. Indo-US encourages all contributors to participate in the event.

Readers are encouraged to sponsor at least one family for $25. Make your check out to INDOUS and mail to Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 20232, Tampa, FL 33622-0232 by Nov. 8. For details, visit or call Francis Vayalumkal at (813) 719-0303 or Kavita Marballi at (813) 767-3538.

Aakash Patel
A Khaas Baat news report

Aakash M. Patel, Avani Mehta Desai, Anoopa J. Dhalu, Anand Pallegar were the Indians selected in this year's class of the Tampa Bay Business Journal's 2008 Up & Comers Awards. Originally called the "Top 30 Under 30," the name was changed this year to incorporate young professionals between the ages of 30-39.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Up and Comer Awards recognize the rising stars in the Tampa Bay business community representing a wide range of sectors, interests, disciplines and skill sets. The highly competitive program received more than 150 nominations with 25 individuals recognized in both the Under 30 and 30-39 categories.

Avani Mehta Desai
Patel, 24, is the Public Relations Coordinator at Phillips Development & Realty, headquartered in Tampa. He is responsible for organizing and coordinating its public relations efforts in Texas, North Carolina and Florida. Aakash is on the Executive Board of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors for the Voices for Children/Guardian Ad-Litem program, and has been a Khaas Baat contributor since 2005.

Desai, 27, is the IT Advisory Manager for KPMG's office in Tampa. She provides IT training to new hires and junior staff. She is involved with the Toys for Tots and Ronald McDonald Tampa Bay Houses. Last year, she was named one of the top 30 consultants in the United States less than 30 years old by Consulting Magazine.

Dhalu, 28, is the Regional Business Development Manager for Nodarse & Associates Inc. in Tampa. She is responsible for securing new business, along with client maintenance and retention of existing clients.

Anoopa J. Dhalu
Additionally, she was elected to serve as president for 2007 of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and is also a member of Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW) Tampa Bay, Associate of Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).

Pallegar, 30, is the founder of atLarge Inc., a privately held interactive advertising agency focused on building client brands through compelling, online experiences, which was founded in 2004. Based in Sarasota, Anand is involved with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Sarasota Film Festival and the Florida Public Relations Association.

All award winners will be honored at an awards banquet on Nov. 6. It will be held at the Quorum Hotel-Tampa from 6-9 p.m. For tickets or information, call the Tampa Bay Business Journal at (813) 873-8225.

Story provided by India Festival committee

The 21st annual India Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, organized by the Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, is expected to attract more than 12,000 people, 85 vendor booths and nearly 15 restaurants selling food.

"Due to the growing attendance, the committee has added more and more areas of the USF Sun Dome to accommodate more shopping and food stalls," said India Festival Chairman Nandkishor Shah. "It is truly a shopper's parade. Booths will offer jewelry, boutiques, audio-video, home decor, photo studio, mehndi, etc. Visitors will enjoy a wide variety of catered cuisine. Exotic Indian food items and juices are a special treat to the palate."

Garba, raas, bhangra, folk and classical dances create a colorful variety show. This year, a separate 'College Category' has been carved out from the 'Senior Category.' It will allow high school teams to have a fair chance of winning, as they will not be competing against the college students. In addition to trophies, cash prizes also will awarded in some cases, to first-prize winners. The performances and appearance by Bollywood and TV celebrities are a special attraction. The 'Voice of Florida' singing competition, organized with the support of the legendary Pandit Jasraj School of Music, is on the agenda too.

For information on competition entry, call Malti Pandya at (813) 931-1980; for booths/vendor information, call Nikunj Patel at (813) 968-6038 or P.D. Patel at (813) 949-0715; or visit


Swaralaya, a Carnatic music organization in Tampa Bay, is inviting children and young adults to send in vocal or instrumental entries for participation in the Composers Day Program Nov. 15.

The 1 to 7 p.m. event in the Hindu Temple of Florida Community Hall, 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa, also will have a classical vocal concert by Salem Shriram, accompanied by Ashwin Ramanathan on the violin and Subramanian Lakshmi Narasimhan on the Mridangam.

Music lovers can send in their name, age, teacher's name, how long they have been learning and details of the Krithi- Ragam, Thalam, Composer. Entry submission is due by Nov 7 and can be e-mailed to or

For more information, call Viji Ramanathan at (813) 926-9701 or Padma Lakshmi Narasimhan at (813) 352-1327.


A group of 40 people, calling themselves the "Guju Team," participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Oct. 4 at the Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. This is a global act to find a cure for breast cancer. They joined in the 5K walk, which took them nearly an hour and half to complete. Participants said the walk was a great experience and felt good to be able to do something fun for a worthy cause. The team donated $1,500 and looks forward to getting involved again next year with more even more community support.

Gov. Charlie Crist, left, Dr. Rao Musunuru and state Sen. Mike Fasano.

Dr. Rao Musunuru, a longtime American Heart Association volunteer and practicing cardiologist in Florida, who has won various national and affiliate American Heart Association awards and recognitions, recently received the prestigious "Point of Light Award" from Gov. Charlie Crist, in recognition of his outstanding volunteerism and community service for the state.

"Your actions display selflessness and deep consideration for the welfare of others," Gov. Crist wrote. "You are a shining example to citizens throughout the Sunshine State and have impacted countless individuals."

Dr. Musunuru was cited for the orchestration and passage of many bills in the Florida legislature, by providing encouragement, advice and counsel to the legislators, including the Emergency Medical Dispatch Bill in 2003, Florida Stroke Act in 2004, Student Health Promotion Act in 2006, Tobacco Prevention Program in 2006, and automatic external defibrillators in senior centers and state parks, etc.


Amol Nirgudkar

The American economy is certainly on the brink of a crisis, fueled in large part by the real estate meltdown. The Florida market is clearly the front-runner in the sub-prime loan frenzy that attracted investors from all over the world to buy everything from land - to houses - to the "infamous" condominiums.

Most of you who are grappling with this crisis have two important questions in mind: 1) How can I sell my investment property in this market? and; 2) How can I reap tax benefits of the losses I have or will suffer from selling or leasing my property?

Though the sale of your property is certainly beyond the scope of our expertise, we believe a good realtor and some good luck will do the trick. What is our expertise are the tax laws and regulations pertaining to rental real estate investments.

The most important set of rules in the area of real estate are the passive activity rules. These rules limit losses to the extent of passive income. In other words, losses resulting from passive activities (activities in which you do not "materially participate") cannot be deducted against "active" or non-passive income (salary, interest, dividends, self employment income). Furthermore, credits from passive activities cannot be used to reduce taxes on non-passive activity income. Please note that rental real estate activities are considered "passive" by definition, even if the owner "materially participates" in their management. Thus, tax losses resulting from a rental can't offset against non-passive income.

One important exception to the rule is the ability to deduct up to $25,000 of losses and credits from passive rental real estate activities against non-passive income, provided "active participation" conditions are met. "Active" participation requires a lesser degree of participation than "material" participation. This rule starts phasing out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes more than $100,000 and completely phases out at $150,000.

If you make over $150,000 and wish to deduct passive real estate losses, the only way around it is to qualify as a "real estate professional." If such is the case, then all your losses can offset your current active income without any limitations. Becoming a materially participating real estate professional goes well beyond giving yourself a fancy title of one. Section 469(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code establishes the following two-pronged stringent criteria:

" More than 50 percent of the personal services performed in trades or businesses by the taxpayer during any particular tax year are performed in real property trades or businesses in which the taxpayer materially participates, AND;

" Such taxpayer performs more than 750 hours of services during the taxable year in real property trades or businesses in which the taxpayer materially participates.

The regulations to Section 469 further elaborate specific criteria for taxpayers to qualify as real estate professionals. The important caveat to remember in these regulations is the taxpayer's successful ability to prove, based on facts and circumstances, that the material participation was "regular, continuous and substantial."

For those who would qualify under these stringent tests, it is vitally important to remember to make a special election under Section 469(c)(7)(A) to group all interests in all real estate activities into a single activity. Absent the election, the above tests would apply to each real estate activity and make it practically impossible for the taxpayer to meet the material participation standard.

As with all business activities, it is not adequate to merely meet the IRS qualifying standards, but is equally important to be able to substantiate compliance to the regulations with good recordkeeping. Maintaining good financial records, documenting intentions in corporate record books, and segregating various properties into separate legal entities-are good ways to maintain the "sanctity" of your tax positions.

Amol Nirgudkar, CPA, is the managing partner of Reliance Consulting LLC and can be reached at (813) 931-7258 or e-mail


First things first, as they say. As in the all-new 2009 Hyundai Genesis is equipped with the Korean automaker's first rear-wheel-drive system. Another first is an 8-cylinder engine. And to top it all, it's the carmaker's debut into the already-crowded luxury sport sedan market ruled by Cadillac, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes.

Can Hyundai pull it off? From the looks (and out test-drive) of the Genesis, we are tempted to answer in the affirmative. The ride is offered in two trims: 3.8-liter V-6 (290 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 264 pounds-feet of torque at 3500 rpm) or the 4.6-liter V-8 (375 hp at 6000 rpm and 333 pounds-feet of torque) engines. Equipped with a Continuously Variable Valve Timing, the 3.8-liter and 4.6-liter Genesis can go 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 and 5.7 seconds respectively.

A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard for both the trims as is the independent five-link front and rear suspension system. The rack-and-pinion, power-assisted steering is accurate and precise, boosting the driver's confidence at every sharp turn and corner.

Safety of occupants is not even an issue, thanks to numerous standard features: dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front and rear crumple zones, front seat active-head restraints and tire pressure monitoring system.

Based on a steel unibody structure, the sedan is 6 inches longer in wheelbase and 3 inches overall than the midsize Azera from Hyundai. One look at the front fascia and you will ask: Where's the Flying H insignia? Well, there isn't any. Instead, it has three horizontal bars that meet up with a vertical spine center. Does it work? Absolutely, when your eyes gaze over at the striking jeweled projector-style automatic headlights.

Peer inside and don't be surprised to find a lavish and elegant cabin that, to tell you frankly, isn't Hyundai-like! Get this: leather-wrapped dash, door panels and console lid; power tilt-and-slide sunroof, classy wood trim on the dash, shifter knob, four-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel and doors; electro-luminescent display for speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature, fuel level, odometer and trip computer gauges; eight-way driver and four-way power passenger bucket seats; metal-grain accents on center stack; heated front seats; Lexicon AM/FM radio with in-dash 6-Cd changer; power rear sunshade; and much more.

It has taken time but the Genesis boasts the quality look and feel of a BMW 3 or 5 Series. Both the engine choices are robust enough to produce a grace ride and superb handling. Equally shining is a top-notch interior with clear instrumentation and logical controls. And if you still aren't convinced, there are the five-year/60,000-mile bumper to bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile power warranties from Hyundai.

GENESIS (3.8-liter V-6)

Tires: P225/55R17
Wheelbase: 115.6 inches
Length: 195.9 inches
Weight: 3,748 pounds
Fuel capacity: 19.3 gallons
City, 18 mpg
Highway, 27 mpg
Base price: $32,250
Web site:

Motoring Tampa Bay Web Site



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

COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS HIGHLIGHT TAMPA BUSINESSES Vegetarian restaurant/stores, NS Food and Gifts and Ganesh Market and Chaat Café, both were featured separately but prominently in recent community publications of The Tampa Tribune.

A veteran cook who has catered for Indian families for about 15 years, Sushma Patel took over NS Food and Gifts last year. "Seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m., large stockpots simmer on tables, emitting the spicy scent of soups and sauces," writes correspondent Elaine Markowitz in the Carrollwood News & Tribune. . "From the tiny kitchen comes the aroma of frying dosas and idlis, potato and onion rings, and other Indian delicacies."

NS Food at 5522 Hanley Road is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily with lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. For information, call (813) 243-1522.

Achyut and Sonal Mashruwala have owned Ganesh Market & Chaat Café on Armenia Avenue since 1996. An all-vegetarian buffet is served seven days a week. Jose Patino Girona writes in the South Tampa/Central Tampa News & Tribune: "Recently, the buffet menu included: cauliflower subji with green peas, green bell pepper, cilantro, cumin and cashew; dum aloo made with baby potatoes and curry; mung bean soup with garlic, green onions, cilantro and cumin; basmati white rice with peas and carrots; stuffed eggplant with bell pepper, tomatoes and sweet onions; and buttermilk served with yogurt, ice, salt and cumin."

Ganesh Market & Chaat Café at 6204 N. Armenia Ave. is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A vegetarian buffet is served from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends. For more information, call (813) 873-8708. And during this wedding season if you have a need for pooja supplies, Indian tapestry, jewelry (wholesale only) and clothing, murtis, dance outfits, religious DVDs and CDs, incense and religious books, check out House of Ganesh at 11612 Nebraska Ave., Suite D, in Tampa. For information, call (813) 579-8205.


Scott Joseph of the Orlando Sentinel recently reviewed Singh's Roti Shop in that city.

"There are several different types of rotis," writes Scott Joseph. "The one I had at Singh's was made with flour and rolled to a thin round shape and cooked on a flat skillet. The roti can be eaten plain or, more often, with stuff inside. I had the channa roti, which was a simple filling of dried, crumbled chickpeas. A bit of ghee, or butter, added some moisture as well as flavor … The folks there were real friendly, too. Singh's is a good place for adventurous diners."

Singh's Roti Shop is at 5244 Old Winter Garden Road. For information, call (407) 447-3447.


Thank you, Linda Bladholm, Fork on the Road columnist for Miami Herald, for that recent informative piece on downtown Asian restaurants, which cater heavily to cruise workers who dock at the Port of Miami.

The author of "The Indian Grocery Store Demystified" takes a look at four Indian eateries:

* Taste of Bombay, 111 N.E. Third Ave.; (305) 244-5080.

* Raja's, 33 N.E. Second Ave.; (305) 539-9551.

* Chithra's, 48 E. Flagler St., (305) 789-2842.

* Indian Prem, 255 E. Flagler St., (305) 371-7736.



Q: What are Chakras and what is their significance in one's life?

A. Chakras are the energy centers. According to yoga, there are thousands of energy centers in our body. Among them, seven chakras in the upper body are important and significant. The Veidc Rishis explained the significance of these chakras few thousand years back. The people who did not accept the existence of these energy centers finally convince with the advent of Kirlian photography, which is a more sensitive photography that can take the photographs of chakras.

When the energy is flowing smoothly through these chakras, life would be blissful. These energy centers get blocked because of negative emotions such as fear, worry, discontentment, jealousy and ego. When these energy centers are blocked, then our system gets disturbed and results in the disease at the physical level. If we can cleanse and energize the chakras, then we lead disease-free, stress-free and a blissful life.

Q: What is the difference between Yoga and Meditation?

A: According to Patanjali, the father of Yoga, the word yoga means union. It is the union with the cosmic consciousness. According to him, yoga means 'chitha vrithi nirodha,' which means cessation of thoughts. When the mid completely relaxes, then yoga happens. To achieve this, Patanjali envisages Astanga Yoga, which means eight parts of yoga and not eight steps to yoga as it is popularly believed in the western world. Astanga means eight limbs not eight steps. In these eight parts, Asana is one part. Asana or Hata yoga constitutes of various physical postures.

In today's world, people have a limited understanding of the word yoga, which they reduced to Asanas. That is just one-eighth of Patanjali's teachings.

Q: What is the best time to practice meditation?

A: Best time to practice meditation is early in the morning. If it is not possible to practice in the morning, then you can do it in the evening too. Please do not stop meditation just because you are not able to meditate in the morning. It's always recommended not to practice meditation immediately after a meal. This varies from technique to technique. Please consult a teacher for further clarifications.

Q: Can I learn meditation on my own at home?

A: It's always recommended to learn, at least for the first time, from a trained teacher. With this, the technique will be understood correctly to practice at home. Once you learn from a teacher, then you can practice at home.

Q. What is healing and how does it work?

A: Healing is to channel the cosmic energy to someone who needs it. There are so many healing systems around the world but the essence of healing remains the same. Cosmic energy has many qualities and one of them is the power to heal. One needs to know the technique to heal others. Matter and energy are not two separate things. Gross part of energy is called matter and subtle part of matter is called energy. If one can give matter to others, then one should be able to give energy too. One needs to know the appropriate technique to heal others.

Sri Nithya Medhananda Swami is a direct disciple of Paramahamsa Nithyananda. Medhananda conducts meditation programs all over the world and currently he is the vice-president of International Vedic Hindu University at Orlando. He can be reached at
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