Unless You’re Brown, ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Is Not Yours to Criticize

I was in the middle of an editorial meeting at the newspaper I worked for in when it came out of nowhere: an overwhelming sense of fear, the trembling hands, the absolute certainty that my heart was going to burst out of my chest. It would be years before I understood that what I had experienced that day — and would on three subsequent occasions — was a panic attack. I was 24, and just two hours before, my parents had called to ask me to be home on time that night. I had no intention of watching it. I had been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt and made a bonfire from it. It is a practice that is followed in several Middle Eastern countries, Japan and Turkey, among others. They all came recommended through friends and family, that larger collective that works very hard to bring together not two individuals but two families — mirror images of one another, both wearing a thick cloak of respectability going back generations — into a union, under the guise of pragmatism, that promotes caste and economic hegemony.

Matchmaking

Love actually! The times are changing, but slowly. Singh, who works at a government regulatory organisation, had one non-negotiable condition. She would not give up her job. Her parents were keen on the caste factor but soon gave in to what she wanted. So, Singh met and interacted with at least 10 men, some for even a few months, before zeroing in on Aditya Fogat, now her husband.

Apr 24, – While Indian parents still take the lead in arranging marriages, many Article: Online Matchmaking Adds a Twist to Arranged Marriages in India​.

Updated : 26 days ago. If you scoff at the very thought of arranged marriage and what all it entails, and consider it to be the most regressive concept on the earth; read no further. Moreover, you will be able to relate to this bunch of young men and women on the lookout for life partners. So women like Sima aunty, become as important as tying the nuptial knot. The series fleshes out a microcosm of Indian society, the upper class, both in India and foreign lands where despite dating apps and websites, Sima aunty has both rationale and reason to exist.

Of course, she exists in real life as exactly what is shown in the series as a high profile matchmaker Sima Taparia. Her clients too are real, sieved out of a list of Through her we meet a handsome jewellery designer in Mumbai, an ambitious woman lawyer in US, a Guyanese Indian origin woman and later in the series a divorcee, all looking for love and a life partner. The common thread is Sima aunty, who frets a bit, as we all want everything.

‘Indian Matchmaking’ might be controversial but it’s helping Netflix in battle for India

The show, which has generated a lot of buzz online, follows Sima Taparia, a high-profile matchmaker from Mumbai who sets couples up with prospective matches. While the show has triggered a debate on sexism, colourism and racism, it has managed to throw the spotlight on the age-old Indian custom of arranged marriage. Over the last two decades, several Bollywood films and reality TV shows have explored the concept of arranged marriages in their own way and have done justice to the theme.

The show is about the central figure, Aneela Rahman, a Glasgow based British-Asian marriage arranger, who gets her family and friends to network together and find the perfect partner for the contestants in a four-week period. The episodes end with updates on how the matches are or not getting on.

The Western world views the notion of ‘arranged marriage’ with horrified fascination; how can two adults consent to marry someone chosen for.

Despite it focusing on a practice that could be seen as archaic and almost out of place in , it was a hit among people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. For those who had never heard of biodatas, star charts and the very concept of arranged marriage, it was maybe a morbid curiosity that got them deeply involved in the exploits of matchmaker Sima Taparia from Mumbai. The quest of its participants to find everlasting love amid the constraints of culture was played out for everyone to see, judge and make memes about.

But this is a reality that many young people face in India and other South Asian countries, where family comes first, second and third. So, does old school matchmaking still work? Can it be used to find true love? Does it have a place in our world today? For the longest period of my life, I thought my parents had a traditionally arranged marriage.

In my teen years I pieced together information casually dropped sarcastically by relatives and realised that it was not! My dad worked as a lab tech in the same college that my mom worked towards her nursing degree and they had a few conversations. Soon after he left for a job overseas but came to know through his brother that my mom was getting arranged marriage proposals.

Obviously, everything worked out. This was the only fake arranged-marriage in our family, kept hush until my cousins and I were older — until mine.

Indian Matchmaking: Why Netflix’s New Show On Arranged Marriages Has Kicked Up Controversy

And on social media, there is a raging storm over sexism, casteism, colourism and other isms. After all, alliances are not between individuals, but families. The son, no surprise, is looking for someone like mummy. And yet, IM underplays the seedier underbelly of the marriage market.

The buzz — and some online fury — generated by the matchmaker series The concept of arranged marriages — essentially pre-vetted dating.

Follow Us. We go behind the scenes of the Netflix show that has taken over our Instagram feeds with the two women instrumental in bringing it to life. In her twenties, Indian-American filmmaker Smriti Mundhra vacillated between blueprinting the creative life she sought and a more conservative vision touted by her family. Her latest endeavour, Indian Matchmaking , is a brand-new Netflix series featuring Mumbai-based alliance consultant Sima Taparia and a clutch of happily-ever-after hopefuls, split between the US and India.

At first blush, viewers may suspect the eight-part reality series, which debuted worldwide on July 16, is the South Asian answer to Dating Around , another courtship-centric series from the streaming giant. But a closer look reveals that Indian Matchmaking , steered by the straight-shooting Taparia, is a nuanced portrayal of a practice in flux. Smriti Mundhra: It was Sima! She was my matchmaker back in the day.

‘Indian Matchmaking’: Is arranged marriage out of place in 2020? Or still a way to find love?

The times are changing, but slowly. Singh, who works at a government regulatory organisation, had one non-negotiable condition. She would not give up her job. Her parents were keen on the caste factor but soon gave in to what she wanted.

But its efforts to dodge the uncomfortable realities of a tradition rooted in a cultural web of misogyny, colourism and casteism hasn’t gone.

To her surprise, the year-old met her future husband and is set to get married in January next year. Mumbai-based Anindita Dey—married for over a year now — also met her husband through her parents. However, Anindita makes it clear that while it was her parents who set up the meeting, the final decision was completely hers. Louis Superman, which she shared with Sami Khan. Because Indian Matchmaking follows matchmaker Sima Taparia analysing families and boys and girls to find suitable matches.

In an age when people believed to be largely pushing away the stereotypes, breaking free from the regressive patriarchal mind-set of society, this show throws light on the ugly truth of Indian matchmaking. In other words, it hits the bullseye when showcasing the circus that Indian marriages, mostly considering how even the most well-to-do families can’t still avoid checking the kundali, complexion or height among other conventional criteria.

But it simultaneously hurts because it is the reality that people face once in their lifetimes and want to forget.

Meet someone for keeps

Bangalore: Netflix Inc. The eight-episode series with its blend of romance, heartbreak and toxic relationships is gaining viewers not just in India, but also in countries like the U. The show is a major win for Netflix, which is competing for eyeballs with Amazon.

Online matchmaking businesses in India have many ways to woo a year, in a country where arranged marriages continue to be the norm.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, but need love too — couples redefine arranged marriage. Outlook August 02, IST Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, but need love too — couples redefine arranged marriage outlookindia. The times are changing, but slowly. Singh, who works at a government regulatory organisation, had one non-negotiable condition. She would not give up her job. Her parents were keen on the caste factor but soon gave in to what she wanted.

So, Singh met and interacted with at least 10 men, some for even a few months, before zeroing in on Aditya Fogat, now her husband. They got married within 10 months of meeting but not before falling in love with each other.

Netflix series Indian Matchmaking is this year’s scariest horror story about arranged marriages

While it is a regressive thought, and not the only one such in the show, Taparia shines light on a phenomenon quite prevalent across the social strata in India. Except the algorithm is decided by Taparia, the globe-trotting successful matchmaker from Mumbai. Of course, she is aided by her face reader, astrologer, and at times life coach.

Commentary: What Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking‘ doesn’t tell you about arranged marriage. Akshay Jakhete, right, in an episode of “Indian.

These men and women — or boys and girls, as they are referred to in Indian society, perhaps to reinforce their youth and innocence — of Indian origin are in their 20s and 30s, living in India and the US. Credit: Netflix. Indian Matchmaking just takes this concept further. Of course, each of these comes with their own good, bad and ugly.

I think the entire experience felt like going on a journey with no idea as to what could turn up next. There have always been matchmakers and, more recently, marriage agencies that connected families. And every Indian family has a Sima Mami who offers women unsolicited, and often blunt, advice to wear more make-up, or hit the gym to lose weight, if they ever hope to get married.

Despite this sociocultural context, Indian Matchmaking has generated a lot of outrage, with critics and viewers alike accusing the show of playing up — or, at the very least, not critiquing — everything regressive in Indian society.

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