“Patel Brothers is just crazy,” she said. “There’s always people coming in and out. People had to park in the Borders parking lot.”
To Kulathila, another sign of the growing community is Usha Beauty Salon & Facial Spa – an Indian salon on Route 9 in Shrewsbury.
Kulathila is working to get more Indians involved in politics: “I know, politics, the uncharted field that our generation has yet to conquer,” she wrote in an essay for the India Society website.
Watanabe says he doesn’t know of any Indian Americans who have been elected to the state Legislature, although some have served in Massachusetts as city councilors and selectmen. The reasons for the lack of representation, he said, have more to do with the state’s political structure than any immigrant group.
“You could ask this about almost any group except white or males in Massachusetts,” he said. “It’s nothing particular to South Asians. It has to do with a lot of things, including the power of incumbency in the state.”
Even in Shrewsbury and Westborough, Indians are not running for local office. Passey believes this is because many Indian parents traditionally encouraged their children to seek jobs in medicine or engineering. But he thinks that has begun to change.
“We don’t have much of a political presence in Massachusetts,” Passey said. “I have a hope that within the next five to 10 years, we will have people running for election.”
Kathleen Burge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.