When Zabel Joshi married a Gujarati businessman and moved from Lebanon to Mumbai in 1972, she was one of many Armenians migrating to India.
Today, Joshi is the only person of pure Armenian ethnicity left in Mumbai.
Originally from the small mountainous country in Eastern Europe, the Armenians are a business-oriented community that settled, in India, in port cities such as Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. Kolkata still houses close to 150 Armenians, but their numbers dwindled rapidly in Mumbai over the past 50 years, leaving only three Armenians in 2008.
After the demise of Rosie Eknaian, 95, two years ago, and Nvart Mehta, 100, this April, Joshi is now the sole bearer of this historical legacy.
“Adjusting to Indian culture was easy because both Indians and Armenians are very conservative and family-oriented,” said Joshi, a Juhu resident who did not wish to be photographed.
With no more fellow Armenians to interact with, Joshi strongly feels the absence of community gatherings.
“We would meet every Sunday after prayers for lunch or tea,” said Joshi. “I miss the presence of my own people, language and prayers.”