Game, set, no match

Express News Service | Published: 01st August 2020 04:08 AM

BENGALURU: It’s a tale as old as time: Girl meets boy, they fall in love and live happily ever after. But in India, this story has a few more characters and chapters to it. Enter cupid, or in most cases, a matchmaker, who takes note of your preferences and suggests suitable matches for you. Netflix’s new offering – Indian Matchmaking – throws light on the whole process as they follow matchmaker of the hour Sima Taparia as she jet sets between parts of India and the US while trying to find the man or woman of her client’s dreams.

While everything may look hunky-dory, city-based matchmakers tell CE how all is not actually well in the scene and the struggles they are currently facing. In a famous dialogue from the series, Taparia tells viewers, “Ultimately, my efforts are meaningless if the stars are not aligned.” The recent Covid-19 virus, however, has proved that sometimes, it’s not fate but man-made pandemics that can also foil the best of one’s efforts. Lakshmi Makhija may still be getting 20-30 new biodatas a day, but repeated lockdowns mean marriages can’t materalise yet.

“Once I introduce a boy and a girl to each other, I let them take things forward either through telephonic interactions or video call. But how long will they keep chatting this way? They need to meet as well and that’s where things are getting stuck,” says the city-based matchmaker, who adds that while same-city matches can still proceed with meetings, things look bleak for those from different cities. Agrees Dr Sanjay Bajaj, who like Makhija, does matchmaking as a “social service” or a hobby. Once both parties like the biodata shared, a meeting can be fixed as soon as the coming weekend for them.

“But now they can’t do that. However, once some sense of normalcy is resumed, the matchmaking process might just be accelerated because by then, the boy and girl would have spent a good amount of time getting to know each other virtually,” says Bajaj, who is also a distributor of construction machinery.

“I am currently focusing only on digital meetings. This new mode may not affect hobby matchmakers as much as those doing it as a business model. The latter will definitely suffer more with marriages not materalising,” he adds. Priyanka Bharadwaj, who is the founder of M.B.A (Marriage Broker Auntie), which offers both advisory and assistance services, says people have been putting off partner searches due to notbeing able to go out. “Naturally, our business has suffered as well. We’ve seen a sharper decline in the case of our assistance service,” says Bharadwaj, who has been using the down-time to create content on frequently asked questions, news letters etc. Some, like Radhika Mohta, are moving away from the field. Mohta is now a relationship coach for independent singles. “While the pandemic has made people realise the importance of companionship, being lonelier than ever, being a matchmaker at this point is hard, because you realise that the people you connect are not able to meet even after months, thus making it difficult to sustain a conversation,” she says.

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