“Hello guys, I am Sima Taparia from Mumbai. I am an Indian Matchmaker. I bring the relationship to people, and if they don’t like it, I judge them. This work is very challenging, and I am very serious about my work. I am very austere about the partner’s checklist. The girl should be able to compromise, adjust, and be flexible with the boy’s family. More the education of the girl more she is regressive, and her desires are. If she rejects my proposal, then she is stubborn and unstable. I think most of the boys are mama’s boys and have a high standard of value; they will forever choose a girl who will accomplish his and his family’s desires. My recommendation for boys is not to reject the girl from her picture, meet her in person, so it will be good to know about her fair skin and reliability.”
The preceding lines are excerpts from a Netflix original show called Indian Matchmaking 2020, a documentary television series on Netflix. Abundant with old superstitions and prevailing stereotypes, this show is full of gossip and drama, and hence it managed to gain popularity with mixed reviews. This show tries to illustrate the dark side pre-wedding procedures in an arranged marriage minimally. Substantially, this show tries presenting Arranged Marriage as some modern-yet traditional Tinder.
The show centres around a lady named Sima Taparia who does not identify the difference between a dog and a cat, but she is a matchmaker for 7-8 NRI clients. She works hard to find the ideal matches for her clients. From pandits to face readers, Sima is running all around to get perfect events. She is often discriminating between boys and girls and their partner’s checklist. She judges one of her clients, Aparna Shewakramani, the lawyer from Houston, to appear obnoxious because she is sure of what she demands, an ambitious and unwilling woman to compromise on the qualities she wants in a partner. Instances of these hilarious satires can also be tracked when one Indian mother is typically shown justly complaining to Ms Taparia. Her miserable tragedy was she received lots of proposals for her son, Pradhyuman Maloo but had rejected them all because either the girl was not well educated or because of her height.
This spicy mockumentary touches raw nerves of our conventional society. However, this fact cannot be denied that it had an excellent opportunity to point solutions to deeper problems and considerable perplexities residing in India. They are choosing a boy based on status, and girl based on her colour, virginity, devotion towards the boy’s family, and the family’s situation to provide the dowry. Most of the time, Ms Taparia addresses the girl and boy by unmarried men, and women like most of the Indians do, this ends up glorifying only one side of the coin. This series highlights the controlling nature and dominance of Indian parents over their children, how marriages are confined to a pre-decided suitable age, options after divorce are limited, and how a girl should continuously adjust. The show attempts to mock these travesties (or not) subtly and parodies the old-school mentality. Presently the question is, How many of the couples are still matched after the completion of the show? The answer is None. Though some may always be in contact as friends.
Undoubtedly, the fact cannot be denied that no matter how fair skin a woman has, how educated he or she is, no matter how full the pockets of money a boy carries, if they are not harmonious with each other, they do not have faith, commitment, time patience, forgiveness, communication between them, then these all are merely appearances. But this show can be analysed as encouraging conventional beauty myths.
Overall this show has only represented one slice of India. India is not only about rituals, superstitions, landscape, and heritage. Many other customs of marriages are less monotonous and intrusive. This show reveals only one side of the coin, which risks the whole world judging and generalising the Indian traditions and perspectives of marriage. In India, love marriages are viewed from different angles, where Indian parents are concerned about their children, and sometimes this situation takes a wrong turn. There is no fact written in stone that arranged marriages are more suitable than love ones. Both have problems, different circumstances; however, both are equally beautiful, only if efforts are invested from both sides.
By Nandini Goyal
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