Love her or hate her, but you can’t ignore her, that’s what Sima Taparia is for you. The first season of Indian Matchmaking was slammed and criticised for glorifying sexism and misogyny. It showed the real and regressive side of Indian marriages and surfaced the inherent patriarchal norms in big fat Indian weddings. Objectifying women and expecting them to be coy, submissive and non-opinionated was one aspect of it. The other was expecting couples to adjust, compromise and be flexible for a successful marriage.
But one thing that we can’t deny is the fact that Sima aunty was real and unapologetic. She didn’t mince words and still sticks to her mantra - adjust a little, have patience, keep your ego aside, compromise a little and love will follow. Even though modern-age women are not okay with that concept, it doesn’t stop ‘Sima from Mumbai’ from returning with the second season of the insanely popular Netflix series with another set of couples, some new and some from the previous season.
Last season, none of the stars aligned and Sima wasn’t able to match a single person on the show, but this year it’s going to be different. Zee Zest got Sima Taparia to talk about her journey, her take on the regressive side of Indian marriages and the upcoming season.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. Tell us about your journey, what prompted you to get into matchmaking?
I had a unique ability from God to remember the relations and recall it instantly. Since matchmaking requires this unique strength, my family was prompted to do matchmaking. I did matchmaking for my own younger sister 26 years ago who is happily married in Boston. I continued matchmaking socially. However, in 2005 I took up this profession. I started very small with my family and social circle. Initially I was doing it myself, however later I did have an office to support.
2. How has the matchmaking scene changed during the pandemic?
In covid times, I had very less staff. We had to work extra hours to cater to the clients. All clients are the same and expect the same. I am continuing my work and trying to find the right candidate for them.
3. You think the idea of arranged marriages has evolved? How are you trying to bring in a change?
I just do my job and try to guide my clients to see the person beyond the superficial biodata. Society is changing and I am glad to see people's attitude slowly changing. I have seen changes in parents and candidates’ requirements. Boys and girls have their own set of criteria. I like to work with people who are genuinely looking for their life partner.
4. Most of your clients in the first season expected girls to be coy, obedient, submissive, and non-opinionated. Are you okay with that?
All clients are not the same, just like our fingers on the hand. I have to deal differently with each. It is challenging and also fun to work with them.
5. How is the second season different from the previous one?
I think you have to watch the release on Aug 11. Stars did align for some people on the upcoming show.
6. You received flak for the first season for its deep-rooted issues such as colourism and sexism in Indian matchmaking, does it affect you at some point?
I spoke what my clients ask for, I have no criteria for them.
7. What are some of the weirdest criteria you have got from your clients?
I remember a client from Delhi. She wanted a girl of a particular height, particular skin colour, particular hair length. It was a challenge however stars did align for the client.
8. Do you think that most Indian arranged marriages are regressive and glorify misogyny and sexism?
The Indian marriage industry is unorganised but still runs in billions. Parents want a fat wedding as it is once in a lifetime.
9. You think a little adjustment, flexibility and compromise is the only way to a successful marriage?
Understanding, giving and taking love is important but patience supersedes. Patience is needed by both. Love will flow. Have a great bonding and live happily. There is nothing as ideal in marriages.
10. What's your definition of a perfect marriage? What's the secret of your successful marriage?
I was married in 1983 when I was only 19 and a half years old and my husband was 21. My husband is a pillar of strength. We do have differences however we still have great bonding. We do adjust and have great understanding.