I’m late to the party but do bear with me. I’ve just had a chance to watch Indian Matchmaking, the Netflix series that created a storm upon its release in mid-July.
I enjoyed the series and recommend it if you can spare the time. And, before I go on, spoiler alert. Stop here if you intend to watch it as I’m diving straight into my thoughts on the series. Don’t want to spoil your fun.
First, it’s a made-for-TV series. So the drama, the excitement and all the emotions were curated to draw in viewers. Everyone involved knew they were involved in a television series. So they were, in one way or another, acting their part.
But there are some precious lessons we can pick up as Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia works with clients in India and the United States. I’m going to pick just one.
Armed with her big book of prospects, Sima Aunty, as she’s known in the show, scans them to find suitable man or woman for her clients in the arranged marriage process.
“Aparna is the hardest type of candidate to match because she thinks finding a life partner is like ordering from a menu,” she says about Aparna Shewakramani, the 35-year-old lady lawyer from Houston.
Misogyny at work? The matchmaker never mentions anything like that for men in the series, only the women.
One of the guys featured in the series is Kolkata-based Pradhyuman Maloo. The 31-year-old is a jewellery designer at his mother’s Mumbai-based jewellery business Nornament. He take you into his huge wardrobe with a thumbprint lock access. The rich kid has one problem: he is fickle minded as to the type of person he’s looking for as a life partner. He just does not seem ready to settle down.
But how does Sima describe him? “The boy’s good. He’s fair, he’s tall and a very handsome guy.”
But she didn’t muster such adjectives for the confident and self-reliant Aparna.
By and large, sexism runs through the show, mostly from the matchmaker’s worldview. The boys get a different treatment compared to the girls. But the men and women themselves are already on a different plane. They seem more open and agile, not stuck to some age-old tradition or thinking pattern.
In the beginning, I found Aparna a little annoying. She was self-made and pretty sure of what she was looking for in the potential husband. At times, she comes across snobbish and a bit of a stuck-up. Sima sure had a tough time trying to filter Aparna’s list of demands in the search for a husband.
But you can excuse Aparna’s behavior as that of a modern lady who is more assured about herself.
But I think my annoyance was more the mother. You can see that Mum Jotika has a huge influence over her daughter.
In doing her job, Sima Aunty sure has different standards when it came to the boys and the girls.
So, why do women get such treatment? Some two decades ago, my wife and I greeted our first born. We were overjoyed. It was a girl. After a while, we had ladies coming to us consoling us. “It’s ok. The next one will be a boy,” some of them said. Our second child was another girl. Guess what? Another round of such ‘it’s ok, the next one will be a boy’. It didn’t somehow register in them that we were perfectly fine with children being boys or girls.
But the ground is changing. Our sons and daughters no longer carry the mindset even of their parents. They are different. They are more confident. They are more outspoken. And they are more self-assured. Of course, not all of them. But a good number. So, perhaps it’s time for society to adjust accordingly and give the Aparnas the place and respect they deserve.
PS: Did you watch the show? How did you find it. Asia Samachar would love to hear about it.
Hb Singh is a Kuala Lumpur-based journalist with some experience in dealing with Sikh organisations, both from within and outside.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.