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Here are some of the Diwali events being held throughout Florida.


The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will hold its Diwali Dinner Saturday, Oct. 17 at the India Cultural Center in Tampa. The dinner and entertainment that will follow is free for Samaj members. For information, call Samaj president Dr. C.J. Patel at (813) 960-8450 or visit

Also, The Sanatan Mandir in Tampa will hold Laxmi Puja at 6 p.m. on Oct. 17. The next day, Annakut will be held starting from 11 a.m. There also will be Diwali and New Year fireworks at the mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave. For information, call (813) 221-4482 or visit

And the Hindu Temple of Florida will hold a Diwali cultural program from 5 p.m. on Oct. 17 at its community hall, 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa. For more information, visit

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Tampa will celebrate Chopda Pujan at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 17. The next day, it will have an Annakut Aarti starting from noon and thereafter every hour; Annakut darshan is from noon to 7 p.m. Kids Carnival also will be held from noon to 6 p.m. with Diwali program at 7:30 p.m. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is at 9556 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa or call (813) 431-0038.

Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB) will celebrate Diwali from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Hindu Temple of Florida community hall, 5509 Lynn Road. MMTB is inviting entries for participation in the cultural program. For details, call Pallavi Pitale at (813) 210-3045, e-mail or visit


The Charotar Patidar Samaj will present a Diwali Dinner and Dance from 3 p.m. to midnight Nov. 15 at The Trinkle Center, Hillsborough Community College, Plant City Campus, 1206 N. Park Blvd., Plant City; There is a $50 donation for family of four; add $15 for each additional person. Fr information, call Jayesh Patel at (407) 460-2020, Kamal Patel at (863) 670-1045 or e-mail


The 12th annual Diwali Mela will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, at Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola (downtown Orlando). It is presented by the Association of Asian Cultural Festivals Inc. On the agenda for the free event are folk and classical dances, light music, songs and bhajans by Central Florida groups. For details, call Lalman Persaud at (407) 532-1990.

Last year, more than 2,500 people attended Annakut/Diwali celebrations held by the Hindu Society of Central Florida in Casselberry. This year, the temple expects as many to attend and enjoy the pujas, cultural events and fireworks on Oct. 18. The cultural program will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. followed by fireworks, and then puja and aarti at 7:30 p.m. Mahaprasad will be served. For information, call Mahendra Kapadia at (407) 699-5277, e-mail, or visit

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Orlando will celebrate Diwali-Annakut on Oct. 18. The BAPS temple is at 1325 W. Oakridge Road, Orlando or call (407) 857-0091.

Also, the Hindu Society of Central Florida New Age Group will hold Diwali celebrations at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1. On the agenda is a seminar on senior safety, games such as bingo, cards, carom, etc. There is a $5 cover charge. For information, e-mail


Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland, will hold a Diwali Mahotsav Oct. 15-19. For information, call (863) 687-4776 or (863) 529-1146.


The India Cultural and Education Center will hold its Diwali/Eid celebrations on Saturday, Nov. 7, at ICEC, 1115 S.W. 13th St., Gainesville. For details, call Shaheda Qaiyumi at (352) 378-7112 or visit


The Hindu Temple of Southwest Florida, 12552 Plantation Road, Fort Myers, will have a Lakshmi Pooja at 10 a.m. Oct. 17. For more details, call Temple President Renga Sundaresan at (239) 561-5866, or temple representatives (239) 574-2501 or (239) 404-6638 or visit


OCT. 17: DIWALI; the Indian Association of the Space Coast will hold Diwali celebrations at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at Eau Gallie Civic Center in Melbourne. For more information, visit


The India Association Cultural & Educational Center of North Central Florida will celebrate the festival of lights on Oct. 17. For more details, e-mail Dipak Patel at


The India Association of Tallahassee ( will be hosting a dinner music concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 to celebrate Diwali at FSU Oglesby Union State Ballroom. Admission for the dinner (Indian cuisine) and music will be $25 for adults and $10 for students and kids ages 6-13. There will be no charge for children ages 5 or below. The event is a fundraiser for the association and brought by both IATLH and Indian Students Association of Tallahassee (INSAT). For details, visit


The Hindu Society of North East Florida in Jacksonville will celebrate Diwali with a Vratha Katha & Puja from 5 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 17. The next day, there will be Annakut. Also, Lakshmi Pooja and Chopda Vasan Puja will from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. followed by bhajans, arati and mahaprasad. The temple is at 4968 Greenland Road, Jacksonville or call (904)-269-1155 or click on

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Jacksonville will celebrate Diwali-Annakut on Saturday, Oct. 17. The BAPS temple is at 7500 Merrill Road, Jacksonville. For details, call (904) 744-5352.


FORT LAUDERDALE: The Shiva Mandir in Fort Lauderdale will hold grand Diwali celebration from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 10 on the temple grounds. Featuring will be the Florida Melody Makers led by Neil Persad and local performers. There also be a Ramayan play and a fashion show put up by the Shiv Ratan Youth Group. The mandir is at 3000 N.W. 29th Ave., Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. For more information, visit


Also, the Indian Religious and Cultural Center (IRCC) will celebrate the festival of lights from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at Cooper City High School, 9401 Stirling Road, Cooper City. Tickets for 2009-10 members are $22 for adults and children more than 10 years of age; $10 for children ages 5 to 10; non-members pay $30 for adults and children more than 10 years of age; $15 for children ages 5 to 10; for further details, e-mail or visit


The South Florida Hindu Temple, 13010 W. Griffin Road, will observe Dhan Teras on Thursday, Oct. 15, and Diwali festivities on Oct. 17 followed by Annakut and New Year celebrations on Oct. 18. For details, call the temple at (954) 252-8802 or visit


The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Boyton Beach will celebrate Diwali on Sunday, Oct. 18, with Annakut Darshan. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is at 541 S.E. 18th Ave., Boynton Beach. For information, call (561) 740-2898 or click on


The Chinmaya Mission will hold Diwali Puja from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 18 during regular Sunday classes. For details, visit

Story provided by Ramesh Parekh

Recognizing the growing needs for the Indian-American generation of empty-nesters and seniors, the India Cultural Center Hall has formed the Desi Club of Tampa Bay.

Its purpose is to provide a venue for recreational and social activities to the members. Currently, table tennis, carom, chess, as well as card games such as poker, bridge and rummy, are offered.

Light refreshments are provided. Based on the needs and interests of the members, more activities are anticipated.

The club meets at ICC Hall once a month - second Wednesday of each month (Oct. 14) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Membership is free. A nominal amount of $3 for refreshment expenses is collected at the event.

It is hoped that the participants-driven club will grow and become an institution serving the Indian American community of Tampa Bay in the years to come.

For more information, call Ramesh Parekh at (727) 785-4112, Pradip Patel at (813) 786-2736, Nikunj Patel at (727) 804-4513 or Mulji and Mrudula Patel at (813) 317-3498.

Story provided by Francis Vayalumkal

The Malayalee Association of Central Florida, together with Tampa Bay Boating Association, is preparing for the second annual Champions Trophy Vallamkali (boat race) Saturday, Oct. 31. Dragon boats will be used to celebrate the traditional snake boat races (vallamkali) of Kerala. Thirteen teams from all over Florida and neighboring states are expected to participate. The event is free to the public.

Kerala is known for the snake boat races, which are held in conjunction with Onam, the harvest festival in August/September. Usually, a snake boat is manned by four helmsmen, 25 singers and 100-125 oarsmen, who row in unison to the fast rhythm of the song of the boatmen.

The event's main goal is to promote unity and cultural interaction within the Indian community by having teams from different Indian communities come together and work in unison in various teams. Corporations often use this sport as team building activity and organizers hope this will be used as team/community building activity within the Indian community.

The tradition remains close to the hearts of people from the Southern state in India. People who have moved to the United States from this area strive to keep their favorite water sport event and traditions alive in all possible ways. The closest they can get to this sport that's loved by people from all over the world is through the dragon boat races.

Anyone who is interested in forming a team can contact the organizers to find out about practice locations. If you are looking to join an existing team, they can assist with that too.

The second annual Champions Trophy dragon boat race will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 to 11 practice and races from noon to 5 p.m.) at Veteran's Memorial Park, 3602 N, U.S. 301, Tampa, FL 33619. (South of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and U.S. 301 intersection). There will be separate competitions for men and women. The first prize is $1,000 and the ever-rolling Champions Trophy, which has been custom-made in India. The second prize will be $500 and an ever-rolling trophy. The registration fee is $250/team.

For information and sponsorship opportunities, visit or call Francis at (813) 719-0303 or e-mail

Story provided by Shobana Daniell

Who would have known years back that Carnatic music can sound as melodious and divine coming from a western instrument - saxophone? Padmashree Kadri Gopalnath has established this instrument in the hearts of the Carnatic doyens of Southern India.

When he was here in 2003, Tampa saw a record audience. And Gopalnath is returning again for perform in a "Raagas on Saxophone" concert presented by Thaiya Thaiya at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at the USF College of Public Health Auditorium, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa. He will be accompanied by A. Kanyakumari on the violin and percussionist B. Harikumar. The evening will open with a classical Indian piece by Patrick Hernly and USF students.

For information, call Lata Kumar at (813) 679-7298.


More than 700 people watched an Arangetram (which means "ascending the dais") performance by three youth Aug. 29 in Orlando.

Performing 10 dances, including solo to the beat of traditional music by musicians from South India, were Natasha, 13, daughter of Drs. Pragnesh and Mona Patel, Priya, 15, daughter of Dr. Digesh and Neha Chokshi, and Shivani, 15, daughter of Drs. Ashit and Krina Shah.

The girls have been learning Bharatnatyam for eight years from Guru Satyabhama Kolapen, founding director of the Institute of Indian Art and Culture.

The girls put on special bells blessed by the priest. Fingertips were painted bright red; their waist length braids topped with jasmine, their eyes lined by kajal in preparation for the performance. Warren Hudson, president of Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, was the chief guest.


First, I would like to extend my appreciation to those readers who provided feedback on our first column. I would like to encourage more readers to participate in expressing their particular interests regarding yoga, so we can shape this column accordingly as we move on.

In this column, let us explore the integrated eight steps of Ashtanga yoga as an organic daily practice, which assures ever-lasting happiness to its diligent students.

It also is called the eightfold path. 1. Yamas 2. Niyamas 3. Asana 4. Pranayama 5. Pratyahaara 6. Dharana 7. Dhyan, and 8. Samadhi.

The first two are the ethical guidelines for preparing the strong base, the foundation, for the self-exploration journey to the ultimate yog of Self-realization.

1. Yamas help us in cultivating our external relationship with others in family and society, and the outer environment or Nature. Yamas apply to our thoughts, words and actions. There are five Yamas:

1.1 Ahimsa (Non-harming): Loving kindness to others, not blocking or obstructing the flow of Nature, compassion, and mercy, gentle-ness. Non-violence.

1.2 Satya (Truthfulness): Being genuine and authentic to our inner nature, having integrity, honesty, being honorable, not lying, not concealing the truth, not downplaying or exaggerating. Truthfulness.

1.3 Asteya (Non-stealing): Not taking what is not yours - money, goods or credit. Not robbing people of their own experiences and freedom. Not desiring for other's possessions, qualities or status.

1.4 Brahmacharya (Ethical conduct): Relating to another with unconditional love and integrity, without selfishness or manipulation. Practicing sexual moderation, restraining from sexual misconduct and avoiding lustful behavior. Celibacy/chastity.

1.5 Aparigraha (Non-clinging): Non-grasping, non-possessiveness, voluntary simplicity, not accumulating things beyond what is necessary, non-attachment to possessions, greedless-ness. Non-covetousness. Non-selfishness.

2. Niyamas are five, and they help us cultivate the internal ethics for our daily activities, pertaining to one's own physical appearance, thoughts, words and actions.

2.1 Shaucha (Purity): Cleanliness, orderliness, precision, balance. Internal and external purification. Clarity of mind and Purity of heart. Cleansing Kriyas - detoxification.

2.2 Santosha (Contentment): Equanimity, peace, tranquility and acceptance of the way things are. Contentment of the self as we are.

2.3 Tapas (Self-discipline): Burning desire for reunion with Oneness expressed through self-discipline, purification, willpower, austerity, and patience. Self-mortification. Spiritual discipline.

2.4 Swadhyaya (Study of the Self): Self-inquiry, Spiritual learning, mindfulness, self-study, study of the scriptures, chanting and recitation of the scriptures. Searching for the Unknown (divinity) in the Known (physical world).

2.5 Ishvara Pranidhana (Devotional offering to Divine): Open-heartedness, Unconditional love, "not my will, but Thy will be done," willingness to serve. Complete surrender to what IS.

3. Asana is the daily integrated yoga practice of the mindful movement of the body and its centered and aligned posture we hold, through which, we can cultivating a healthy self. Our physical body is a gross expression of what is happening at the other subtler levels of the self; vital, emotional, mental and spiritual. Asana practice prepares the body and mind for the subtler practices of Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dyana and Samadhi.

To be continued…

Achala Rao is certified in Integrated Yoga Therapy, Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), and a certified energy-healing practitioner in Valrico. She can be reached at or call (813) 716-7026.


More than 2,200 enjoyed the sold-out FOGANA North American Raas, Garba and Folk Dance competition 2009 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, on Sept. 6. Nearly 25 regional winning teams from across the United States including California, Ohio, Texas, New York, Michigan and Georgia took part in the national Fogana title.

FOGANA stands for the Federation of Gujarati Associations of North America. Founded in 1980, the group seeks to promote the cultural heritage of Gujarat among the younger generation through raas, garba and Gujarati folk dance. By bringing Gujarati people living in North America closer together through a common platform, Fogana aims to maintain the cultural heritage of Gujarat, India.

Chairman Swapna Shah commented on the excellent teamwork of her committee, adding, "I would especially like to thank ICC President Dr. Mahesh Amin for giving me the freedom to incorporate new ideas but still work shoulder-to-shoulder together." She also thanked Dr. Kiran C. Patel of India Cultural Center for giving her the opportunity of chairing such a prestigious event, which promotes Gujarati culture for generations to come.

Even a temporary power outage caused by a lightning strike did not dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of the participants and the audience. Fogana President Jyotsna Patel thanked all the local volunteers for their hospitality and putting together this national event at short notice. The event culminated with each and every participant, nearly 400 strong, assembled on stage for the result announcement and trophy presentation.

From left, Dr. Scott Latimer, Humana executive; Amy Patterson, Pepin Heart's Patient Services Officer; Joanne Sullivan, executive, UCH Foundation, and Dr. Kiran C. Patel.
Story provided by BAPS Charities

More than 200 community members participated in the Tampa BAPS Charities Walkathon Sept. 26, supporting "United We Serve," a national effort launched by President Obama to engage Americans in serving their communities this summer. In keeping with its Walkathon theme, "Building a Better Community, One Step at a Time," part of the proceeds from this year's Walkathon will go to University Community Hospital's Pepin Heart and Dr. Kiran C. Patel research institute in Tampa.

"We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service," said Nilkanth Patel, president of BAPS Charities. "BAPS Charities is taking part in 'United We Serve' by organizing nearly 125 community service events including health fairs, blood donation drives, health awareness campaigns and walkathons like this one all across the country."

"Children, teens, and adults from all across Tampa put aside their busy schedules and walked with their friends and family to serve the local community," said Kamlesh Darji, volunteer of Tampa. "We are indebted to the participants. Their time and commitment made this event, which benefited Pepin Heart and Dr. Kiran C. Patel research institute, a huge success."

Pepin Heart Hospital engages in diagnose, treatment and research about cardiovascular disease. "UCH is pleased to be associated with this event," said Joanne Sullivan, executive of UCH Foundation.

The Walkathon, held at Bayshore Boulevard, inspired people to go the extra mile to make a difference in someone's life.

Manshi Patel, 20, a student participant from New Port Richey, said, "Today's walk is part of President Obama's initiative 'United we serve' and it is an honor to take part in helping to raise awareness about a healthy heart." Dr. Kiran C. Patel appreciated the efforts of BAPS Charities and spoke about community efforts and in particular recognized the contribution of the youth wing.

For information, visit


Ford Edge

THE RIDE: Two-door, four-passenger 2010 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG luxury coupe.

DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2009, the rear-wheel-drive car can reach 0 to 60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds. Top speed is set at 155 mph. Impressed? You ought to be. After all, the 6.3-liter hand-built engine from the AMG division of Benz offers strong acceleration, superb handling and steering feel.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: Step on the throttle and the DOHC V-8 engine blasts off 518 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 465 pounds-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. Mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, the CL63 is equipped with a power rack-and-pinion steering, which is razor sharp. Front suspension is handled competently by a four-link system while the rear gets a five-link system. Both ends have gas shocks and coil springs to improve ride quality and comfort. Bringing the speed demon to a halt are 15.4-inch front dual-sliding calipers and 14.4-inch rear single-sliding caliper discs. To vary the driving experience, Mercedes offers sport, comfort or manual modes.

LOOK & FEEL: Walk around the CL63 and the first element that will grab your attention are 6.3 AMC badges on the front fenders. The traditional three-pointed star on the grille is enclosed by bi-xenon headlights and fog lamps with chrome rings underneath. The cabin is lavish and elegant as is expected of any AMG-equipped Benz with 14-way power heated and cooled seats, four-spoke leather steering wheel with aluminum paddle shifters, power rear window sunshade, and a tilt/sliding sun roof. The dash, doors and center console are covered in rich leather upholstery. The rotary knob for the Command system, which controls the audio, navigation and phone systems, is straightforward to use. All the materials and craftsmanship are top-notch.

SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, Electronic Stability Protection, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, Pre-Safe (partial braking in an emergency), traction control, anti-theft alarm system, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

OUT THE DOOR: $146,075, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.

BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 255/35R20 front; 275/35R20 rear; wheelbase, 116.3 inches; length, 200.2 inches; weight, 4,599 pounds; fuel capacity, 23.8 gallons; city, 11 mpg; highway, 18 mpg; Web site:

WHY DIG IT: First of, the CL63 is not for everyone. Base-priced at $150,000, it comes with abundant power, exceptional handling and a cabin packed with high-tech luxury items. But if you have the dough, we can only encourage you to be pompous. After all, who says flaunting is a crime?

Check out for more new vehicle reviews.



2010 Mazda3
THE RIDE: Two-door, four-passenger 2010 Jaguar XK convertible.

DOWN THE ROAD: Freshened for next year, the XK gets a boost in its horsepower and torque. That means it can take off from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The convertible has no difficulty getting up to speed quickly while braking just as swiftly and with poise.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: Power is derived from a new throbbing 5.0-liter V-8 engine. It puts out 385 horsepower at 6500 rpm and churns 380 pounds-feet of torque at 3500 rpm. Mated to a slick 6-speed automatic transmission, the car gets a new Adaptive Dynamics Suspension, which improves balance, handling and grip by automatically adjusting firmness. You have a choice of two modes: dynamic (for a sporty feel) and winter (for dealing with slippery conditions).

LOOK & FEEL: Based on an aluminum body structure, the XK shows off bi-xenon headlights with chrome-detailed inserts and details in the upper mesh grille. The Jaguar insignia etched on the front door sills and rear trunk door is attention-grabbing. The carmaker has borrowed the Jaguar Drive Selector from its XF sedan. The hidden shifter dial majestically pops out from a center console nook into the palm of your hand. It takes the power-folding soft top just 18 seconds to open or close at the touch of a button. Lending extravagance to the XK is a suede-cloth headliner. Leather decks up not only the doors and center console but also the dashboard and the three-spoke power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. Other standard amenities are heated/cooled seats, keyless start, touchscreen LCD for audio and navigation controls, driver information center and a 525-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags with rollover protection, front seat belt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control, front head restraint system, anti-theft engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

OUT THE DOOR: $88,150, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.

BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/40ZR-19 front and 275/35ZR19 rear; wheelbase, 108.3 inches; length, 188.7 inches; weight, 4,674 pounds; fuel capacity, 16.1 gallons; city, 22 mpg; highway, 16 mpg; Web site:

WHY DIG IT: If you like to catch the sun with the top down while ensconced in an exhilarating car, the XK should be parked in your garage. An interior loaded with tech-laden goodies makes for a perfectly rounded-up convertible. Now, all you need is about $100,000 and some change.



Have you opened a new store or restaurant in the last six months? Expanding or relocating? Has your business won an award or a mention in your local newspaper? We want to hear from you. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at


PEMBROKE PONES: The Indian Religious and Cultural Center (IRCC) will hold Navratri Garba/Raas from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sept. 19, 25 and 26 at Silver Trail Middle School, 18300 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines. Tickets are $20 entrance fee for three days (advance purchase by Aug. 31); $30 for three days (after Aug. 31 and at gate); $10 for Sept. 19 at the gate only; $20 for Sept. 25 or Sept. 26 each day at the gate only; $30 for Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 a two-day pass at the gate only; senior citizens ages 65 and older and children ages 3 and younger are free. For more information, e-mail or visit

SOUTHWEST RANCHES: The Shiva Vishnu Temple of South Florida, 5661 Dykes Road, Southwest Ranches will celebrate Navratri Sept. 19-28. Special poojas will be held for goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi. Sponsorship for all day is $101 or Abhishekham each day for $25. For more information, call the mandir at (954) 689-0471 or visit

Also, in Southwest Ranches, the South Florida Hindu Temple, 13010 W. Griffin Road, will celebrate Navratri Sept. 19. Durga Ashtami Havan will be on Sept. 26 with Saraswati Puja on Sept. 27 and Dasheri, Vijya Dashami on Sept. 28. For more information, call the temple at (954) 252-8802 or visit

FORT LAUDERDALE: The Shiva Mandir, 3000 N.W. 29th Ave., Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, will begin Navratri 10 Nights Yagna from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 19 through Sept. 28. For more information, call (954) 735-3560 or visit

SUNRISE: The Bengali Association of South Florida is holding Durga Puja celebrations from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 26 at Westpine Middle School, 9393 N.W. 50th St., Sunrise. Puja will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thereafter, there will be lunch followed by a cultural program from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and then dinner and dance; for more information, call (954) 895-4270 or (786) 351-1180 or e-mail or visit


SEPT. 12: YOUTH CLUB ELECTION FOR INDIAN RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL CENTER (IRCC); 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sophia's, 3842 N. University Drive, Sunrise; nomination forms should be emailed to by Sept. 4; for nomination form, visit

SEPT. 19: "GITA IN ACTION" CHAPTER 6 (WORKSHOPS ON SHRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA): presented by Chinmaya Mission Miami; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; "Senate Chambers" in the Student Union, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton; conducted by Brahmacharini Aparna Chaitanya; $15 pre-registration or $20 at the door; register at; for more information, call (561) 632-4611 or e-mail If you would like to list your upcoming South Florida event in Khaas Baat, please e-mail the information by the 20th of each month.


"Dosais are just one of the authentic dishes drawing Indian families, vegetarians and adventurous diners to Udipe," wrote Rochelle Koff during a recent Miami Herald review of the Sunrise restaurant. "The extensive menu covers a lot of territory with Indian-style Chinese and Indian-American ''pizza'' - but these are not your nonna's tomato pies. The thick pancakes or uthappam are topped with chiles and tofu plus sambar - a lentil vegetable soup - and chutney on the side."

Udipe Café owner Santosh Shetty has operated restaurants in such disparate spots as Nairobi and Kansas City, notes Koff.

Udipe Café is at 2100 N. University Drive in Sunrise. For more information, call (954) 748-5660.


If you would like to expand your Indian palate, Linda Bladholm of "Miami Herald" suggests you visit the restaurant by that name. Indian Palate in Coral Gables represents all of India's 21 major regions, she points out.

"For a taste of northern India, there's tandoori quail, dal makhani (black lentils stewed with butter and cream) and fragrant biryani (basmati rice steamed with spices and bone-in pieces of chicken)," writes Bladholm. "South Indian vegetarian dishes include vadas (savory lentil doughnuts), avail (veggies in coconut milk), and uttaapam (lentil pancakes). There's also Goan fish curry with kokum (a sour dried plum) and Chettinad chicken from Tamil Nadu with lots black pepper."

Indian Palate is at 2120 Salzedo St., Coral Gables. For more information, call (786) 360-3664.

Mental Health Column

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