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‘Indian Matchmaking,’ It’s Time to Break Up

In India we don’t say ‘arranged marriage’. There’s ‘marriage’ and then there’s ‘love marriage’.” Of all the taunts — and she says a lot of them — the self-anointed Seema Taparia has unleashed. Mumbai’s top matchmaker And none more true than the breakout star of Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking.” Not that finding husbands and wives for estranged offspring hasn’t been a solution for troubled parents across centuries and cultures, even if in Europe and America, love eventually entered the conversation long enough to become uncommon. You have been standing. But for older generations in India, parents finding spouses for their children has been the norm for so long that the idea of ​​those same adult children marrying for “love” is still so alien as to be an entirely different concept. Can take over the category – is now a reality. -TV show.

“Indian Matchmaking,” of which The third season premiered on April 21., impeccably produced, featured and bejeweled follows Taparia as she navigates the lives of unhappy men and women of mostly Indian origin living in America. She promises to find them the spouse of their dreams as long as they don’t dream too much. The cast varies (some fan favorites and villains are occasionally brought back) but most are seemingly affluent young men, urban and cosmopolitan, who run their own businesses and attend boutique exercise classes. This season’s standouts include an emergency room doctor named Vikash, who has a god complex who refers to himself in the third person as Vivacious Vikash and dances solo to Hindi songs at his friends’ weddings (and himself). allows the video to air while doing. On the show; he wants a tall Hindi-speaking girl because he’s really into Indian “culture.” There’s Bobby, a high-energy teacher with a math-themed raps that end with her onscreen doing “math, boo.” Aarti from Miami lists weekly trips to Costco as her hobby.

The activities these aspiring matches choose for the dates they go on (wine tasting, yoga with baby goats) are straight out of Williamsburg. Interspersed among these scenes are his stony-faced parents, astrologers giving sex advice, facial readers, tarot card readers and Taparia’s own unusual advice to remind him that he can never have it all. are what they want in a partner, so they better start out. Now lower their expectations.

She promises to find them the spouse of their dreams as long as they don’t dream too much.

That she has yet to make a single match that has resulted in marriage over the course of two seasons and 16 episodes has not stopped either Taparia herself or the show’s makers from continuing this Sisyphean journey in a third. . He doesn’t suffer from imposter syndrome or even, apparently, self-awareness, so his matchmaking mechanism is completely altered. The only major departure this time is the expansion of his hunting grounds to Britain, where he begins his reign of terror by telling a 35-year-old London divorcee named Priya that she “shouldn’t be so frisky.”

For people like me, who grew up in this third-party matchmaking environment, Seema Tapriya or Seema Aunty (a nickname she gives herself) is just that — a Auntie, an archetype we know and avoid all our lives: the obnoxious and domineering relative, familiar with zero sense of neighbors or boundaries. But for a global audience that eagerly enjoyed “Indian Matchmaking” during the early months of the pandemic, Taparia was a delightful novelty, combining at once the serenity of a know-it-all with the serenity of matrimonial wisdom. Tossed the bon mots (“You only get 60 to 70 percent of what you want. You will never get 100 percent.And the next moment, ordering a female client to get rid of her “high standards,” the guidance counselor’s chagrin breaks down in front of an overzealous student about not getting into Harvard. are happening

In India, parents’ search for brides and grooms for their children is a cruel and vile business, which originated as a way of maintaining caste marriage.

Throughout history, the coming together of two people in matrimony (sacred or otherwise) has never been about the union itself—it is a broader institution influenced by society’s deepest concerns (financial, religious, or racial). ) represents “Indian Matchmaking” tells itself like no other show about trying to find love in a hostile world. It’s predicated on the idea that having the help of someone old-fashioned like a matchmaker is better than the drudgery of online dating, where one has to go through worse indignities like ghosting or breadcrumbs. Here, at least, relationship expectations are mutual, and after all, what is a “biodata” (a curiously named document Taparia uses in her practice) if not an exaggerated dating app profile but a resume? In shape and with Kim Vince. Mentions about loving tacos and pizza.

But in India, parents’ search for brides and grooms for their children is a cruel and vile business, which originated as a way of maintaining caste marriage, and is fraught with violence on all sides. , this is a fact that is contradictory. The show presents the process as a decorous, civilized exchange that takes place over tea and manners. The most damaging aspects hide behind a looseness of feigned gentleness, which is reflected in the many flattering phrases in which Tapria, the singles she matches with and her parents communicate. The title of the show itself reads like a weird, misanthropological translation, when in fact, the Indian here simply stands for outrageously rich, landed upper-caste Hindus in “Indian Matchmaking” (here and there with one exception).

Caste is one of the most malevolent forces still dominating the social fabric of India. Informed by muttering in a low voice. of the “same community”. It would be unseemly to openly announce that you want to marry someone filthy rich, so the words “good family, good upbringing” are often spoken. Women can’t afford to be “nice”. Women must be “flexible.” They must also learn how to “compromise.” My personal favorite among them, though, is “adjust,” one of the hardest-working euphemisms in Indian English, which linguistically translates to the squeezed addition of a third on a bus seat. Can be made to fit only two people. Parents demand that the girl be ready to marry her son and give up her professional career to pursue full-time daughter-in-law activities. Surprisingly, men get away with such advice.

“In marriage, every desire becomes a decision,” Susan Sontag remarked in 1956, a wonderfully poignant line that led me to question the show’s participants about their “qualities” for potential spouses. I remembered doing it. Early on, they begin reciting millennial-speak straight from the twee-internet era of 2012: wanting someone “kind of” with a “sense of humor.” But going further, pushing the actual requirements, judgments emerge which show that their modernity has not yet overcome the inherent biases that govern the whole phenomenon. Costco-obsessed Aarti can’t help but notice that her father is really, really, Really She loved marrying someone from her “community”. Vibrant Vikash, meanwhile, for all his insistence on Indian “culture” forgot to mention that he wanted a Hindi-speaking girl. United States (a “same community” of her own) and not the “very Indian” woman with an Indian accent that Seema Aunty sought for her.

Source images: Netflix

Eva Dixit is a staff editor at the magazine. His previous articles include: Definition of eating raw red onion And an exploration at that The continuing popularity of “Emily in Paris.”



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