It’s Friday evening and the bhajan singers are arriving at the home of Vikas and Nisha Padhye. Women in flowing Indian dresses with colorful sashes and scarves. A few men in what westerners like to call Nehru shirts or jackets, but most are all-American in jeans or khakis, T-shirts or plaids.
They leave their shoes at the door — within an hour some 60 shoes are stacked there — and gather in the basement recreation room. They sit cross-legged or on their knees before an altar adorned with pictures of Hindu deities. The evening begins with slow intonations of the sacred word AUM, followed by a half hour of unison chanting of ancient Hindu prayers.