MARCH 2016
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Today’s youth are exposed to high levels of stress, causing physiological, emotional and behavioral consequences. Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital has been a pioneer in developing a research-based program, which has been proven to reduce stress in youth. The curriculum includes instruction of techniques to elicit relaxation, stress management approaches, and cognitive behavioral interventions. It has been successful in Boston schools and is now available for middle and high school youth in Tampa.

The six-week SMART (Stress Management and Resilience Training) program will be offered through PEHCHAAN and Anjum Kumbkarni MD, MBA. At the end of the program, the youth who have participated will have improved self-esteem, improved memory, develop better work habits, improved academic performance, will be less influenced by peers, achieve greater sense of self, develop coping skills, and lifestyle behaviors that will help in academic and personal lives.

The free session will be between 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the Jimmie B. Keel Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa. It will include a brief introduction to the SMART program and guided relaxation.

For information, contact PEHCHAAN at [email protected]


More than 60 participants attended the first gathering of the “Desi Club” organized by the India Cultural Center (ICC), Lotus Hall, 5511 Lynn Road, in Tampa. Activities at the free event included table tennis, bridge and other card games, carom, chess, etc. Light refreshments were served. There is no minimum age requirement to attend.

The club meets the first Wednesday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. at ICC. Future dates are March 2 and April 6. For information call Ram Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.


Beena Parikh, right, interviews Madhuri Dixit.

The Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) led Orlando’s official India Day celebration in downtown Orlando on Jan. 31. The daylong lineup of excitement showcased Indian culture, cuisine and entertainment, including a well-attended Street Festival in front of the Amway Center. Through the IACC’s ongoing partnership with the Orlando Magic, the Indian American community contributed to a full house as the Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Celtics.

Madhuri DOrlando Mayor Buddy Dyer officially proclaimed Jan. 31 as India Day in Orlando, recognizing the fourth annual India Day event as a celebration of Indian-American heritage, culture and music in Central Florida and in commemoration of India's Republic Day, which honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into force. The proclamation was delivered by Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill at Amway Center during the India Day celebrations. Also in attendance was Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh and a representative from Sen. Bill Nelson’s office.

The IACC hosted Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit, who was the guest speaker at the IACC Fireside Chat, “Powerful Indian Women.” She was interviewed center-court at the Amway Center by Beena Parikh. The event was televised live from the Amway Center on TV Asia.

For more information on IACC, visit 

ISHA YOGA PRESENTS Self-Transformation Program MARCH 31-APRIL 3 in Tampa, St. PeteRSBURG and Sarasota

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

People of all ages, abilities, and cultures have long traveled to India to learn the ancient science of yoga and authentic methods for self-transformation. Isha Foundation presents an opportunity to learn such powerful practices in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota, during the Inner Engineering program from Thursday, March 31, to Sunday, April 3.

Inner Engineering is a comprehensive yoga practice, which engineers a deep and lasting personal transformation, helping practitioners break through personal limitations, establishing health and vitality, mental calm and clarity, and a deep sense of joy. It addresses every aspect of human wellbeing – from body, mind and emotion to the fundamental life energy within us.

Participants in the program will learn a balanced set of simple but powerful yoga practices for inner growth from an accomplished and experienced instructor, who has been trained by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation, which is a volunteer-run, international nonprofit service organization headquartered in Tennessee and dedicated to cultivating human potential through yogic science. Sadhguru is a yogi and mystic with a profound mastery of the ancient science of yoga. 

The Inner Engineering program will be held at:

Tampa Bay Baptist Conference Center, 15601 Lake Magdalene Blvd., Tampa, FL 33613

Columbus Hall, 4880 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34232

Morean Arts Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33712

The schedule is as follows (attendance of all sessions is required to complete the program):

Thursday, March 31: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Friday, April 1: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 2: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (vegetarian lunch will be provided)

Sunday, April 3: 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (vegetarian breakfast and lunch will be provided)

For information, visit, call (813) 413-1661, or email [email protected]

Indian-American Student is 50th Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 142 of Tampa

Kunal Kaushal, right, with Scoutmaster Mike Ebert.

Kunal Kaushal, 17, of Tampa, was inducted as an Eagle Scout during a Court of Honor ceremony in February. He is the 50th Scout from his troop to attain this top rank. A senior at King High School’s International Baccalaureate program, Kaushal has been a member of Troop 142 since 2009. His mother, Dr. Sujata Kumar, is proud of her “golden” Eagle’s achievements.

Being a Boy Scout "has helped me develop perseverance and dedication,” Kaushal said. “Managing this project and completing it to finish my Eagle Scout credentials have shown me how powerful these traits can be and how motivated it made me to not quit." 

To earn the rank of Eagle, a Scout must plan, develop and complete a project to benefit his community or a religious institution. Kaushal’s project was to provide photographic displays of Florida native wildlife and plant species found at Nature’s Classroom, an environmental educational center on the Hillsborough River.

The project included more than 150 images printed on waterproof paper with fade-resistant ink. The weatherproof frames required a layer of lamination to protect the photos from the sometimes harsh and humid Florida climate. With input from Karen Folsom, the center’s site administrator, Kaushal researched what would be required to print and weatherproof the images Folsom provided.

With his troop’s help, Kaushal held carwashes to raise money for the project. He spent more than 115 hours planning, fundraising, creating and installing the waterproof frames. His Scoutmaster Mike Ebert served as his mentor. Among the rigorous requirements for earning the Eagle designation, Scouts must acquire 21 merit badges. Kaushal said the life-saving badge was the biggest challenge and his favorite was one that trained him in emergency preparedness and cooking.

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