Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Compiled by Nila Patel

The North South Foundation (NSF) held its annual National Finals Sept. 3-4 in San Jose, Calif. For the first time ever, a team of some of the brightest and best Tampa youngsters represented the chapter.

NSF provides a platform for children of Indian origin to participate, compete and excel in various academic contests. The competitions include spelling bee, vocabulary bee, math bee, science bee, geography bee, public speaking, essay writing and brain bee. Many of the students who participate go on to win the prestigious Scripps National spelling bee or the National geographic bee or Math counts.

NSF is not only an academic opportunity for the youth living in the United States but also provides scholarships for students in India by charitable means. About two-thirds of all proceeds are used for merit scholarships for students in India who are unable to continue their education due to lack of funds.

More than 12,700 students participated in regional contests held all over the United States. Only the top 10 percent were invited to compete in the finals. Among the students representing Tampa were the first-place winners of Tampa regional NSF contest Maya Patel (SeniorGeography Bee), Ethan Rampersaud (Junior Geography Bee), Keerthi Premkanth (Math bee) and Meghna Nandam (Junior Science Bee). They were joined by other students who performed high in overall scores. They are Rohit Chari, Varun Madabushi, Varun Singh, Tyler Rampersaud, Ashwin Ganesh, Nishank Rangarajan, Sashank Rangarajan, Nikhil Chari, Nishant Aremada and Rishi Nair.

For more information, visit www.northsouth.org


Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind-body medicine, Deepak Chopra continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra will present Healing, Transformation and Higher Consciousness at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts’ Carol Morsani Hall in Tampa.

Chopra is the author of more than 64 books, translated into more than 35 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers in both fiction and nonfiction categories. He is the founder of The Chopra Foundation, adjunct professor at Kellogg School of Management and senior scientist with The Gallup Organization.

Are we in the midst of a major paradigm shift in science? Is there an ultimate reality? Does consciousness conceive, govern, construct and become the physical universe? Is the universe becoming self-aware in the human nervous system? How does our understanding of consciousness also enhance our capacity for total well-being? Chopra will address these and other questions as well as practical ways to experience higher consciousness, transformation and healing.

After the presentation, Chopra will have a book signing featuring his latest book, “War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality,” which was co-written with Leonard Mlodinow.

Regularly priced tickets start at $34.50 and may be purchased by calling (813) 229-7827 or 1-800-955-1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at www.strazcenter.org


On Sept. 17, the organization PEHCHAAN held a daylong symposium on mental health in Tampa. To shed light on this vital but often-overlooked topic, Khaas Baat offers feedback from an attendee.

When I first heard that PEHCHAAN was planning a symposium on mental health titled “Creating Compassion and Sparking Hope,” I was surprised and thrilled. The topic of mental health is one that South Asians generally refuse to acknowledge. This subject is generally swept under the rug to ignore its existence. Despite such blatant disregard, the issue persists and can result in disaster if left untreated, as was shared by the keynote speaker at the conference.

Dr. Suresh Unni, Ph.D., LCSW, shared the tragic story of how he lost his youngest brother to suicide. As Dr. Unni opened his heart to those at the symposium, I could not help but wonder how many other people there are in the South Asian community facing a similar situation and not getting the help they need because of the stigma attached to suicide. To reduce this stigma, Dr. Unni has conducted extensive research.

This was followed by a panel of experts further educating us on “Mood and Depression” (Jayendra Choksi, MD, and Purvi Gandhi, PhD), “Anxiety”(Sharad Lakdawala, MD, and Aarti Mathur, PsyD), “Children and Youth Pediatric Disorders” (Rahul Mehra MD, and Maulik Trivedi, MD), and “Adult Attention Deficit” (Swapna Mukherjee, MD). Each presentation ended with a question-and-answer session with the audience.

For me, the highlights were realizing that mental health issues are far more prevalent in our society than we care to admit, that early intervention is not only helpful but essential to avoid dire consequences, and children and adults diagnosed with ADD/ADHD actually tend to be intelligent and capable of attaining their maximum potential with correct treatment. It is time to recognize that seeking help for mental health issues is no different than seeking help for other body ailments such as diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. All such medical issues deserve treatment regardless of what specific part of the body they harm.

I applaud PEHCHAAN for addressing such a difficult and sensitive subject, bringing it to the community’s attention and in effect initiating the process of “Creating Compassion and Sparking Hope.” (For more information, visit www.pehchaantampabay.org)

Submitted by Daksha Jadeja of Tampa

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