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Wknd Conversations: Indian Matchmaking courts controversy – News

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It’s been nearly a month since Indian Matchmaking premiered on Netflix, but the show continues to be talking point for various reasons. Is it regressive in showcasing colourism and casteism that is prevalent in Indian society? Or does it reflect an ugly truth about ourselves?
In an email interview with WKND, the show’s now-famous matchmaker Sima Taparia talks about its popularity and what the negative reactions to the show tell us about ourselves.  

What led you to become a professional matchmaker?
As a child, I have always been social and engaged in conversations with many people. During family or social get-togethers, I had this unique ability to recognise faces and names with ease. This helped me get more information about other individuals. When my family saw this in me, they thought that I would be someone to help in our societies and people. What started as a hobby is now a full-time profession.

The show has also not come without its share of criticism. People are claiming that it promotes casteism and colourism. As the matchmaker at the heart of the story, how do you view these charges?
I take the necessary criteria from my clients and give them options accordingly. So, in the real sense, it shows what criteria are prevalent in parts of Indian societies. The reactions, however, show how these thoughts are modernising with younger generations.  

The show is also peppered with your own take on candidates and their preferences, and many of them come across as rigid and conforming to the stereotype. Why is a woman demanding qualities from a prospective husband seen as being ‘difficult’ whereas a man is not?
Women of today are educated and self-sufficient. They also have their ‘say’ in matchmaking. My advice to all my clients and their families, whether they be boys or girls, is to respect the other side. Once compatibility and wavelengths match, married life is smooth. In Episode 4, you will see that I have even advised a male client as such.  

What is the most important criteria you keep in mind when you bring two people together?
I would say character and honesty. Respect for the other partner creates longevity of happy married life.

What’s the most challenging part of your job? How often do people blame you when relationships do not work out?
As I said, I factor in the client’s criteria and give them options. The rest is up to the individual and families to decide. I do not interfere in family decisions. It’s really up to destiny.

Given that none of the relationships in the show actually worked out, did you think it would reflect on your work as a matchmaker?
In the show, the director wanted to show the process of Indian matchmaking. The shooting completed in just five months, but the matchmaker’s job ends only when their client is happy.

In an interview, you said it was an arranged marriage that put your dreams on hold. How has arranged marriage evolved to accommodate the needs of changing times?
In modern times, many things have changed. Girls and boys are both educated. It is up to an individual and family to decide on the concept of arranged marriage. I am just here to help.

anamika@khaleejtimes.com





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