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Story provided by AAKASH M. PATEL

INDO-US Chairman Santosh Govindaraju
Tampa�s INDO-US Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its annual Banyan Ball on Dec. 9. The sixth annual social event of business and community leaders will take place in the Ybor City Museum courtyard (1818 E. Ninth Ave.). Professionals and entrepreneurs will meet, socialize, network, make new friends and meet old friends. "Last year, we raised the bar with INDO-US black tie ball,� said INDO-US Chairman Santosh Govindaraju. �This year, it's going to be a festive and elegant affair celebrating the fusion of Indian and Western cultures in fashion, food, and business. It's going to a terrific party!"

Dr. Anita Goel
In addition to the social events, the Banyan Ball will feature an awards ceremony, which will recognize the outstanding individuals who have exemplified leadership in the community. Guests also will hear a keynote speech from nationally renowned physicist Dr. Anita Goel, who was recently named one of the world's 'top 35 science and technology innovators under the age of 35' by MIT's Technology Review Magazine. Dr. Goel holds both a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University and an M.D. from the Harvard-MIT Joint Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). She has emerged as a leading researcher in the field of nanobiophysics and nanobiotechnology.

Tickets are still available for the event, which include a formal dinner, cocktails, entertainment, networking and dancing, as well as the keynote speech by Dr. Goel. The Banyan Ball is $125 per person, and tickets can be purchased online at or via phone at 727-480-9403. Limited sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Aakash M. Patel can be reached at (813) 228-0652 or e-mail at [email protected]

Story provided by FLORIDA TECH

�Traditional Textiles of India,� featuring Indian clothing, textiles and artifacts has opened at the long-awaited Funk Textiles Gallery at Florida Tech in Melbourne. The first on-campus showcase for the Ruth Funk Textiles Collection is located in Room 405 of the Crawford Building on University Boulevard. Admission is free to the gallery, which is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

Objects on display include embroidered wall hangings and ceremonial cloths, and a patchwork quilt made from antique saris.

�We�re extremely excited to have this showcase available for sharing the textile arts with the community,� said Carla Funk, gallery curator and Office for Advancement special projects coordinator.

The exhibit will run through Feb. 19, 2007. For more information, call Carla Funk at (321) 674-6129.


Story provided by JOHN ADHIA

Tampa Bay Indian seniors meet every third Wednesday of each month at India Cultural Center Lotus Gallery. The Nov 15 event began with a warm cup of Indian masala tea at 11 a.m. After a brief introduction of new members, Manisha Patel presented a session on spiritual meditation. A pure vegetarian lunch was served at noon. An hour later, Senior VP and Provost of the University of South Florida Renu Khator presented Hindi/Urdu "Hasya Ras" or funny poetry.

The program ended with bhajans, ghazals and songs by Radha Nandkumar, a professional singer, who also is a disciple of Pandit Purshotamdas Jalota. She was accompanied by Pandit Shripad Jail of Pandit Jasraj School of Music on tabla.

The next ICC Senior day is scheduled for Dec. 20 at ICC Lotus Gallery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open for all Indians. Everyone is encouraged to participate. There is no entrance fee. Also, rides could be arranged for seniors who do not have transportation. Volunteers of all ages also are welcome. For information, contact John Adhia at (813) 784-1132 or Ram Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.

By NITISH S. RELE - [email protected]

Shyam and his wife Subhra Mohapatra.
Shyam Mohapatra, co-founder and chief technology officer of TransGenex Nanobiotech (, was picked Technology Professional of the Year recently by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF). More than 400 people attended the third annual Industry Achievement Awards celebration of excellence and leadership of technology companies and individuals in the Bay area.

Established in 2002, TransGenex Nanobiotech looks to advance nanoparticle biotechnology research and develop cost-effective detection and target drug delivery techniques for chronic and life-threatening diseases.

�Tampa Bay has done extremely well in high-tech but is really at infancy as far as biotech is concerned, particularly nanobiotech,� says Mohapatra. �It is really an emerging field that biotech was 30 years ago. Nanobiotech is going to change our civilization and culture. The potential is tremendous. It will touch all aspects of human life.�

Mohapatra is a professor of medicine and director of a Signature Research Program of the USF Health. TransGenex is exploring the growing field of nanoparticle technology, in which scientists work with particles of 100 nanometers in size (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and a millionth of the diameter of a human hair). This technology involves working at the atomic level, and is often called �small technology.�

�Picture microscopic fragments of genes, the building blocks of the human body, encased within tiny particles, which are then formulated as nose drops, nasal sprays or inhalants for patients with respiratory diseases like allergies, or potentially life-threatening respiratory diseases such as asthma or respiratory virus infections,� says Mohapatra. �Once inside the body, the particles travel to the lung, where gene products target the diseased or virus-infected cells responsible for the illness.�

That�s the condensed version of an extremely complicated, high-tech process of a novel drug delivery process using nanoparticles carrying genes as drugs.

Mohapatra�s drug-delivery platform targets respiratory conditions and certain cancers. There are many advantages to this novel type of drug delivery. The nanoparticles are so small that they diffuse faster in the body, he says. And the therapeutic protein is site specific, which means it finds and targets only the intended tissue and cells without harming any other area of the body.

At the present time, the company is in phase two of non-human clinical studies. The next step is to validate the data, analyze the results and file the study with the FDA.

GOV.-ELECT CRIST PICKS DESAI AS Crist Citizen Review Group Leader

Gov.-Elect Charlie Crist, left, and Senator Bill Frist look on as Dr. Akshay Desai speaks.
Story provided by Crist Transition Team

Dr. Akshay K. Desai of St. Petersburg, a commissioner and chairman of the White House Commission on Asian American, Pacific Islanders Health Committee advising the President on issues effecting Asian Americans, has been picked for the Citizen Review Group by Governor-Elect Charlie Crist. He and eight others will spearhead an agency-by-agency fact-finding mission aimed at identifying opportunities and challenges within each operation.

Desai, whose expertise is in health care, will gather information on the Department of Health and Agency for Health Care Administration and report the findings to Crist and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Jeff Kottkamp. Among the information gathered will be administrative policy, legislative priorities, budget and funding priorities, organizational issues and federal law and policies.

Desai was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Council for Education Policy, Research and Improvement and the Florida Board of Governors. He is a member of the American and Florida Medical Associations, the American College of Physician Executives and the Pinellas County Medical Society. He obtained his medical degree from Government Medical College in India and received a master�s degree in administrative medicine from George Washington University.

A 5-foot-tall painting of Goddess Saraswati was prepared exclusively for the opening prayer.
Story provided by our Tallahassee correspondent

India Association of Tallahassee organized an annual variety entertainment program "Cultural Glimpses of India � 2006� on Nov. 18 at Lawton Chiles High School. The four-hour program � starting with a grand song "Jaya jaya he" on the Goddess of learning � consisted of live music and dances to songs from film songs from Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam songs.

A skit by tiny tots dressed as freedom fighters took audiences on a journey through the independence struggle starting from pre-British era and ending with the slogan, "Bharat Maata ki jai." Fusion of Generations � a dance with moms and daughters taking part � was presented with the younger generation playing ballerinas.

Nearly 70 dancers dressed in glittering white to a song "Desh Rangila" from the Hindi film �Fanaa� ended the show by unfurling a 40-foot-long Indian flag.

Pradeep Vanguri
By NITISH S. RELE - [email protected]

Pradeep Vanguri, assistant professor of athletic training education at the University of South Florida-Tampa, is the only Indian American in Tampa Bay Business Journal�s �30 Under 30� list this year.

�I am honored and thankful to receive the award,� says the 29-year-old, who was nominated by a colleague. At the two-year program, Vanguri teaches students to become certified athletic trainers. �Mentioning is the most rewarding aspect of my job on a daily basis,� he says. �My research interests in faculty development, pedagogy and instructional technology also provide a unique agenda for me as a faculty member. Through this work, I intend to provide other faculty my insight into becoming better teachers and incorporating technology into the classroom.�

The profession of athletic training has shaped Vanguri�s life and career. �My interest in athletic training developed through my experiences in high school as an injured soccer athlete, which helped me gain insight into this field,� he says. This interest continued to East Carolina University (Greenville, N.C.), where he completed a B.Sc. degree in Exercise and Sport Science and then was admitted to the undergraduate athletic training education program. �As an athletic training student, I learned about the vital role this profession plays in athletics,� he says. He then earned a Master of Science degree in Education at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, N.C.).

During this time, Vanguri also served as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Shaw University (Raleigh). �This experience required the dual role of health care provider and educator to the many athletic training students and student-athletes,� he recalls. �My graduate degree served to open my eyes to the teaching profession and research.�

After wrapping up his master�s degree, he began his first job as assistant professor teaching athletic training education courses. Two years later, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Education with an emphasis in instructional technology and higher education at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa).

Vanguri has been at USF for two years now.

Kaaba in center of Mecca. About 2 million Muslims are preparing to attend Hajj in Mecca this month.

There are five tenets of Islamic belief, which are fundamental to the religious belief of a Muslim. The first is assertion of Faith. This assertion by a believer is that there is no God but one God (Allah) who controls all that is in the Universe and also controls our entire destiny. The second is the belief in after life and a day of reckoning and judgment when we will all face our creator and be judged for our actions in this life. The third is Salat or daily obligatory prayer. A Muslim should remember God at least five times a day when one stops one�s daily routine and turns his/her thoughts to Him (God) in prayer. Prayer also called Namaz does not take more than a few minutes. The fourth is Saum or fasting. A Muslim has to fast from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan .The fifth tenet is Zakat or compulsory donation to the poor and deserving in the community. This amounts to about 2� percent of one�s savings each year. The last tenet is Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca, which every able Muslim is encouraged to fulfill at least once in his or her lifetime when one has the resources to do it.
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Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is an important decision. Some of the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen include the right to vote, receiving a U.S. passport that allows for freedom to travel, participating in the judicial process by serving on a jury, and having visa priority when sponsoring an immediate relative. If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, you may still be eligible to become a U.S. citizen through the normal naturalization process. The following is a brief summary of the naturalization eligibility requirements for people who are 18 years or older and who will file an �Application for Naturalization.� The information below also can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Web site at
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By NITISH S. RELE - [email protected]

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 [email protected]

Adi Khorsandian of State Farm.


Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And so is Ardeshir (Adi) Khorsandian, who has been an agent with the company for nearly 18 years now. A couple of months ago, Khorsandian moved into a new 5,100-square-foot office with 3,100 square feet of living area. The reason behind the move to the bigger building where he now employs 7? �Because of the growth in the industry and to provide professional service and bank/financial services,� he replies.

Khorsandian services the entire state of Florida with State Farm Auto, Fire, Life, Health, Bank and Mutual Fund services. �We also offer home loans, equity lines of credit, car and commercial loans as well as financial services such as Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, Simple IRA, SEPs.� State Farm Bank products include CDs, money market, checking and saving accounts and Health Savings Accounts.

A native of Bombay, the 53-year-old touts State Farm as a fine organization with great support and service. And 25 percent of his clientele is Indian American. As we said earlier, like State Farm, Khorsandian is always there.

His new office is at 20752 Center Oak Drive in Tampa. �Adi,� as he is known, can be reached at (813) 991-4111 or via e-mail at [email protected]


Jarnail Singh is the new owner of Essence of India in Tallahassee, which till now used to be called Curry & Wine Indian Cuisine. Singh has several years of experience running restaurants in Orlando and Miami.

Essence of India is at 1105-A Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee (next to Olive Garden). For information, call the restaurant at (850) 656-7200.


New to Tampa Bay? Or need a refresher course on the wonderful amenities that are available in the Bay area? Check out The Tampa Tribune�s �A Newcomer�s Guide to Tampa Bay� published in November. Beaches. Festivals. Amusements parks. Golf courses. Hospitals. Schools. And of course, restaurants. Of all the Indian eateries in Tampa Bay, which the magazine calls �a culinary melting pot, rich in variety and diverse in aromas,� Angithi Fine Indian Restaurant in the University area gets a mention.

�Experience Rudyard Kipling�s India through your taste buds with hearty kormas and kofta, pakoras and panir. A generous Mix Tandoor Platter displays the chef�s talent with the cone-shaped clay oven.�

Angithi, 2047 E. Fowler Ave. (across from University Mall), can be reached at (813) 979-4889.

Also mentioned in Discover Tampa Bay, but in the Faith listing of places, are the Hindu Temple of Florida, Islamic Society of Tampa Bay and India Cultural Center. �Whether you�re a devotee of Lord Vishnu or just fascinated by India�s rich cultural and religious heritage, make a visit to the Hindu Temple of Florida, 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa; (813) 962-6890. Its grand gateway, called a Rajagopuram (�King�s gateway� in Hindi) is the nation�s largest at 70 feet high. Rich next door is the India Cultural Center, which provides up to 21,000 square feet of space for special events, conferences and meetings in its Magnolia Ballroom and Lotus Gallery. The Bay area�s rapidly growing Indian community sponsors many of its colorful festivals with food, music and dance here. The center�s phone number is (813) 264-4638.�

Regarding the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, the magazine notes, �Education center, mosque and Red Crescent Clinic, which provides free medical care to the uninsured, regardless of religion.� The society is at 7326 E. Slight Ave. and the contact number is (813) 628-0007.


Remember Babita Persaud? She used to be a writer for The St. Petersburg Times but now is with The Orlando Sentinel and contributing some fine articles on East-West Indian topics. Recently, she threw a spotlight on the Caribbean Supercenter, 5111 W. Colonial Drive in the Orlando area in that Central Florida daily newspaper.

Persaud notes that West Indians now number 56,144 in Orange County, according to U.S. Census figures released recently. In 2000, there were 35,000 people of West Indian heritage in that county. �The store has become a magnet since it opened last year,� she writes. �Customers drive from Lakeland for hard-to-find products: Crown Rice, Prestige Haiti beer, Complain power drink and hassa, a bony catfish. Plait Bread � think French bread � is made fresh.�

The 30,000-square-foot former Kash n� Karry store is owned by Naraine Moonasar, originally from Guyana. Caribbean Supercenter offers a deli counter, produce department and a Western Union stand. To reach the store, call (407) 523-1308.


Memories of India II, a restaurant in Lake Mary area of Orlando, was recently reviewed by The Orlando Sentinel. �The food was as exciting and well-prepared as the original, with spicy dishes that displayed multilayered flavors and mild selections brilliantly balanced with myriad seasonings,� writes Scott Joseph.

The reviewer found the service welcoming and prompt. �Wines are not a strong suit here, but the beverage list has Kingfisher beer, which is a wonderful quaff for spicy food,� writes Joseph.

Memories of India II is at 3895 Lake Emma Road in Lake Mary and can be reached at (407) 804-0920.

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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