Recently Sima Taparia from Mumbai, of the popular Netflix show Indian Matchmaking, was in Delhi. She was invited by Accor Hotels to collaborate on Vivaah at Novotel, a virtual wedding concept into home delivery of food and gifting items.
As the pandemic has changed the dynamics of weddings, with ceremonies now moving online, Taparia, too, was invited to virtual weddings. “I was recently invited by two families to be part of their Zoom weddings. I placed two laptops on my desk and attended both ceremonies.”
Apart from postponing or going virtual, many clients, she informs, have also flouted the rules to arrange wedding ceremonies. Without disclosing names, she talks about a grand celebration that took place in Goa last year. “At least 700 people were on the guest list. A similar number was recorded at an affluent wedding function in Udaipur. Even in Covid, a wedding function does not see less than 150 people. Everyone wants a grand wedding, irrespective of the pandemic,” she says.
But as the pandemic has given people a lot of time to reflect on themselves, has she observed any change in mindsets when it comes to looking for a match? “People still want a fair-looking bride. Once, I received a call from a prospective groom’s mother, and she said, ‘Can you please find my son a beautiful bride? My son is very handsome.’ Families on both sides demand that the other should be equally well-off. All the debates emerging from the Netflix show about boy’s parents demanding a ‘slim-trim and beautiful girl’ were not wrong. In Indian society, this is the reality. If people have such demands, I am bound to comply, that’s my work,” Taparia tells The Morning Standard. As it appears, the prevalent patriarchy in the Indian society allows matchmakers such as Taparia to mint money.
“Horoscope matching is still a primary issue, and many people reject good prospects based on that. It also happens that families meet and they reject each other, without letting the people in question meet. I believe the wavelength of the would-be couple should match. No one gets a 100 per cent match,” says Taparia, who started the matchmaking business in 2005.
Fifteen years and 150 matches later, Taparia shares that when she arranged a match for her sister, who is happily settled in Boston, she felt she had the knack for professional matchmaking. An affinity to travel and socialise, were other pluses. “It was a combination of hobby and passion,” quips her husband, Anup Taparia, who accompanied her on this trip to Delhi. “Just as the show ratings’ topped, our household phone never stopped ringing. At one time, we had to take the landline off the hook,” he says.
“I was lucky to get a supportive husband, but my in-laws were orthodox and I too had to ‘adjust’ for a while,” she says, while adding, “If someone’s flight is late, they have to sit and wait. In office, not everything goes according to your will. You have to make compromises. So, what’s the harm in adjusting for some time in a new household for your relationship?”
As Indian Matchmaking gears up for Season 2, Taparia says she couldn’t be happier. She says, “I don’t have the details at present but I am looking forward to it. People have started recognising me even under the mask when they hear my voice. I was working for love and respect, and I got both. Fame was just a byproduct.”