In the late nineteenth century, tourists descended upon Edison to gawk at its Christmas lights displays and witness for themselves the place where “tomorrow was born,” as township officials often boast. As Edison entered the twenty-first century, two of every ten people were of Indian origin. And 55,000 Indians were counted by the census in Middlesex County alone—one-third of all the Indians who live in New Jersey. Many, such as Pradip and Nandini Kothari, call it home. Some, such as Sankumani and Shravani Sarma, are starting to like the sound of that. And others, such as Harish Patel, don't know if they ever will.
Despite a sluggish economy and a slowdown in immigration after the events of September 11, America continues to beckon. And as the explosion in central New Jersey's Indian population shows, it is the suburb—with all its promise—that lures. In so many ways, central Jersey reflects the quintessential suburban towns that dot the U.S. landscape, with mini-malls and gas sta-