Add to that the unique challenges of matchmaking, for instance, an Indian Guyanese wedding planner and high school counsellor with a criminal father — its not always a straight-forward affair. However, Taparia takes it all in her stride. With the help of a motely crew of agents, including a dubious face reader, astrologer, life coach and even another matchmaker, Taparia meets, assesses and matches singletons in the hope of hearing wedding bells and earning her top end commission. More interesting perhaps is the darker, real side of Indian culture and matchmaking factors that come into play. Had this series been made with working class urban or rural families under the lens, the actual reality of Indian matchmaking would have been exposed. Maybe that could be an idea for season two.
Why Does “Indian Matchmaking” Make My Culture Seem So Burdensome?
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.
When I first watched “Indian Matchmaking,” I didn’t frown upon the on contemporary Indian culture that destigmatizes arranged marriages.
Then there was the time my dad told me I was disinvited to his future funeral, because my preference was to date whomever I wanted as opposed to accepting an arranged marriage and that was an embarrassment to the family. He conveniently denies this ever happened, for the record. The reality show follows Sima Taparia, a professional matchmaker from Mumbai who travels around the world helping Indian clients find suitable matches for marriage.
Rather, marriage is a transaction between two families. Some of her clients are parents who are desperate to get their children married, others are marriage seekers themselves who turned to her service after they were unsuccessful meeting people on dating apps and elsewhere. What struck me most was that, in many cases, the characters we meet are not seeking acceptance and affection from a partner, but from their own families.
Seeing the pressure unfold literally gave me anxiety. Critics have been quick to point out how problematic the show is. Everyone shown is relatively well-off, and there are no queer or Muslim characters. The blatant colorism, sexism and weight-related comments we witness in “Indian Matchmaking” is jarring. The thing is, none of this is news to people in the Indian community. That your family is constantly on your ass? That our own inherent racism, classism and sexism is a scourge that no one is even attempting to fight against?
Yes, yes and yes.
Unless You’re Brown, ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Is Not Yours to Criticize
Religious faith has long held a strong link to matchmaking and arranged marriage. In Jewish tradition, God was the original matchmaker, creating Eve out of Adam’s rib so that the two could share company and procreate [source: Kadden and Kadden ]. Therefore, matchmakers held a prominent position in Jewish history. Fathers customarily bore the responsibility of selecting adequate grooms for their daughters and might request assistance from a local matchmaker, or shadchan , to seek out an eligible bachelor.
Matchmakers may then team up with rabbis to pair young men and women in the community, something that still takes place in orthodox communities. The Torah dictates payment to a shadchan , but that doesn’t always happen; some Jewish matchmakers will refuse to accept any remuneration, considering it their divine calling they pursue as a form of charity [source: Sherwood ].
An honest perspective on Indian marriage culture in ‘Indian Matchmaking‘. (Photos: Public Domain Pictures). By Anika Jain on August 19,
I was on the phone with my mother, who lives in Pune, India, complaining about Indian Matchmaking , when she brought up the marriage proposal. I knew she agreed. I scoffed. But watch Indian Matchmaking , and you may end the eight-episode arc of the smartly edited, highly bingeable show with a misleading idea of how arranged marriages actually work. The Netflix reality show follows Sima Taparia, a matchmaker from Mumbai whose pen-and-paper spreadsheets of potential suitors is far from the most outdated thing about her.
She flies back and forth between the U. Women need to cook. Men need to provide. Most women who hire Taparia on Indian Matchmaking are accomplished professionals with hobbies and a social life. And every one of them is told to compromise and adjust expectations. To western audiences, the show depicts a “progressive” style of matchmaking that is much more palatable than the sometimes viciously misogynist and purely transactional matchmaking practiced among most Indians.
But what becomes clear while watching the show is that while the means of matchmaking have been updated, the system itself remains brutal for the women involved.
‘Indian Matchmaking’ is bringing up uncomfortable issues my culture needs to address
Skip to Content. People are matched in hopes of finding suitable marriage partner; marriage is marker of success in matchmaking process. Much of the advice given to women when trying to find compatible matches can be considered sexist; preferences for other attributes can be interpreted as racist or classist both within Western and Indian circles.
Clients range from being inflexible in their criteria to being unwilling to commit. Parents often state that all they want is happiness for their son or daughter, but then reveal very specific criteria for their future son- or daughter-in-law. Alcoholic beverages wine, champagne, cocktails are sometimes consumed during social gatherings and dates.
The Netflix reality series Indian Matchmaking has been a viral hit, but mostly because people are talking about the controversies around it.
The second I saw Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking come up on my TV’s home screen, I excitedly texted a bunch of my Desi friends to see if they’d heard anything about it. I’m not saying that there weren’t any stereotypes that caught me off guard on the show like some of the character’s fake accents or the opening scene where Devi’s praying over a book for good grades , but there were some moments that really hit home for me in the coming-of-age comedy. While I was excited to see something related to the Indian culture get the spotlight yet again, it sort of felt like a personal secret was about to be exposed to the world.
I was a little worried how Indians would be portrayed, especially to people who aren’t familiar with a culture where arranged marriages are considered the norm. Would the show go into complexities and nuances that come with matchmaking? Being Indian , I’ve been asked about arranged marriages my entire life and have had to answer questions like, “Do you get to choose who you want to marry or do your parents choose for you?
Having been born in New Jersey but grew up in places like Dubai and Mumbai you can just call me Nikita Charuza From Mumbai , I know plenty of people who have had both arranged marriages and “love marriages. You sort of get lumped into one of those two buckets even though no two stories are the same. My parents had a “love marriage” and I was lucky enough that they supported my decision to marry whoever I wanted.
At the same time, I also have friends and family members who had arranged marriages and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference because of how happy they are. Some have even compared it to being another outlet for getting introduced to potential partners like dating apps, but there are a lot of societal pressures that come with choosing that route. That being said, I’m not oblivious to the fact that there are women who don’t have a choice and are treated as transactions with arranged marriages and the multitude of pain they have had to endure.
I also know people who have given the matchmaking process a try and ended up leaving the situation pretty quickly because of women like Sima.
I Grew Up In The Biodata Culture Of ‘Indian Matchmaking.’ Here’s What I Want You To Know.
In the case of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking , it’s Sima Taparia , a globetrotting matchmaker from Mumbai who’s supposedly the best in the business, and these aren’t just dates, but first meetings that could rapidly blossom into an arranged marriage. The show follows her as she sets up eight nitpicky Indians and Indian Americans while satisfying their rigid families. But in reality, Indian Matchmaking is far less comprehensive in its view of arranged marriage than it appears.
On the surface of it, matchmaking seems innocuous, like IRL Tinder only with Indian culture is tokenised and in some cases turned into a.
Frankly, I fail to see what is exciting or new about the show, except the fact that it intends to pivot the gaze of a global audience around the voyeuristic gratification of watching Indians express unfamiliar desires that are strange and cringe-worthy. The profit-guided intention of the show is to demonstrate and oversell Indianness, and what better way to do it than to insist that the practice of Indianness, or indeed a return to it in the case of NRIs is possible in the tacit acceptance of one of its central traditional institutions — the arranged marriage.
Following the ideological winds that blow, the series focuses exclusively on the Hindu custom of arranged marriage as the Indian Matchmaking ritual. Arranged marriages have long been the norm in South Asian societies. The majority of Asians, especially Indians, have their marriages planned by their parents and other elders of the family. While recent studies suggest that Indian culture is trending away from traditional arranged marriages, still fewer marriages are purely arranged without parental consent and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with consent.
Love marriages or self-arranged marriages are still an exception to the norm, and are associated more with urban living and a generally progressive outlook, particularly in the urban parts of India. Rarer, still, are the interfaith marriages. Several major religions are mute on the issue, and still others allow it with requirements for ceremony and custom. His real prize came later when his men began squatting at the tiny piece of land the family tilled and owned, which he grabbed in his name eventually.
Within days of their return, the sarpanch sent a party of hitmen who accosted his father at the local market and beat him so badly that he succumbed to his injuries hours later. His mother, instead of fleeing the village in fear, took guard in front of her four children and vowed never to set foot outside the village again. What followed was a tough life of social isolation in a village so small that none of the houses had a proper address.
The direction to every house was described by keeping other houses in relation to the destination.
Indian Matchmaking, Total Recall, and the best things we watched this weekend
Skip navigation! Story from Spirit. By now, you’ve probably heard about Netflix’s new reality show, Indian Matchmaking. The series follows Sima Taparia, Mumbai’s top matchmaker, as she tries to find lifelong partners for her clients in both India and the United States.
The only problem with ‘Indian Matchmaking‘ is that it doesn’t live up to Desis use to describe things we criticize or reject about our culture.
By Sajmun Sachdev August 11, But while I was celebrating what I found to be a super authentic look into the world of matchmaking, arranged marriages and Indian family dynamics, many reviewers and tweeters made me realize that I may be the only South Asian woman who was. So seeing that representation in Indian Matchmaking made me feel proud: Finally an Indian filmmaker had accomplished what we got into this industry to do: She put us on TV.
Indian Matchmaking could never be everything to everybody and still be the success it is. She is, simply, a stereotypical aunty. A divorced woman is a failure. Like the criticisms of Taparia, several people online were unhappy with the traits the participants prioritized when looking for their partners. For example, Ankita is dark-skinned; coupled with the fact she has modern viewpoints, she therefore only receives one match.
Skin lightening creams are a billion-dollar business in India, Asia and Africa. Critics, and even some of my friends, found them to be stereotypical and ugh-inducing Indian parents, their worst qualities reminding people of their own fathers and mothers. But I found their familiarity exciting, because I knew these people. I was either related to them or grew up running into them at the temple. Instead of being embarrassed, we South Asians should commend these parents for going on TV and giving us authentic representation by fully being themselves; especially considering most Indian parents I know would be too concerned about how other people would perceive them to go on TV in the first place.