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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The idea of arranged marriages has evolved: Sima Taparia

Matchmaker Sima Taparia on the reality show Indian Matchmaking, what families want and being open-minded

Written by Ektaa Malik | New Delhi | Updated: August 6, 2020 5:31:05 pm
indian matchmaking, sima taparia, indianexpress, Pundit Sushilji and Sima Taparia in episode 5 of Indian Matchmaking. (Source: Netflix 2020)

“Hello, I am Sima from Mumbai” the greeting that matchmaker Sima Taparia, 57, uses in the reality show Indian Matchmaking is now a verified meme and she herself has become a social media sensation. Mumbai-based Taparia “who has helped fixed a lot of marriages” was the host of the reality show that has been trending globally. Indian Matchmaking charts Taparia’s attempts at finding a suitable match for the participants, who range from plush South Bombay boys, and a public school teacher in the US to an entrepreneur from New Delhi. Taparia uses her resources and drums up ‘suitable’ biodatas for each of the participants to choose from. She is aided by an astrologer, a face reader and a life coach. The participants then have a meet and greet to take it forward. Her one-liners from the show, which are usually responses for the demands that the participants have made – ‘she needs to be flexible’ or ‘she is too rigid’, are principles that she lives by. These one-liners have also become fodder for many social media memes and gifs. In an email interview, Taparia talks about what matchmaking means in a digital world, how priorities are changing and what it means to stay married. She, however, remained silent on how much she charges for each successful match.

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Excerpts:

What led you to be a matchmaker?

I was always an extrovert. My parents noticed that I formed connections and remembered names and faces with ease. What was initially a hobby turned into a profession. I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now. But I believe that when you pursue your hobby as a profession, you’re not really ‘working.’

What made you say yes to Indian Matchmaking?

I have known Smriti Mundhra (the producer) for a very long time. I also worked with her on her documentary film, A Suitable Girl (2017).

In fixing marriages, what has been the biggest shift you have seen? Are young people more demanding or are parents too rigid?

I think it’s a mix of both. Some parents still want to find a match for their children, based on what they think their child needs. However, even children today are their own people. I leave it up to the family to decide what they need, and ensure that I don’t interfere with that process.

Are arranged marriages and your role as a matchmaker still relevant, in the time of love marriages, Tinder, Bumble and other dating apps?

Dating apps and matrimony sites have been around for a while now. Regardless, I have a very loyal customer base that has referred me to other new clients; I continue to get a lot of enquiries. I visit every client and take their requirements.

ALSO READ | The evolution of marriage, from strictly arranged to semi-arranged

Why do you think young people still agree for an arranged marriage?

The idea of arranged marriages has also evolved. Gone are the days when parents would find matches and marry their children to suitable partners. These days children also play an active part in the process of matchmaking. And sometimes, they feel they need some extra guidance and help.

Do families still ask for ‘slim, tall and fair’ girls? And what do the girls’ families look for?

This is something that has been changing over the years. Now many families prioritise character and values over other things.

Do people still only want to marry within their caste?

I think mental wavelength and character play a big role among young people now.

indian matchmaking, sima taparia, indianexpress, Rupam in episode 7 of Indian Matchmaking. (Source: Netflix 2020)

Do horoscopes matter in today’s digital age?

A lot of importance is placed on astrology, as many people find a direction in life.

Do young men and women not want to settle down nowadays?

I believe that differs from person to person. Today’s generation certainly has more goals and aspirations for their careers, but that doesn’t mean they do not want to settle down. Everyone takes their own time.

None of the matches you made on Indian Matchmaking lasted. Why do you think that happened?

A matchmaker’s job ends when the client is happy. The process of finding matches still continues for some, while some have decided to take a pause.

You said on the show that marriages ‘are breaking like biscuits in India’. Why do you think that is happening?

I think both the man and the woman have to be compatible, adjusting, and compromising, and their wavelengths should match.

What’s your advice to people who are looking to get married, both men and women?

I think they should be open minded and try to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

Indian Matchmaking streams on Netflix.

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