Within a week of its release, there has been much discourse around the Netflix original docu-series, Indian Matchmaking. While exploring the concept of arranged marriages in India, the show follows matchmaker Sima Taparia (or ‘Sima from Mumbai’ as she calls herself) as she travels across India and the US, finding ‘suitable’ matches for her clients.
And while he subject matter of the show along with its host, Sima might have been the butt of many jokes and social media meme fest, the show seems to also have served a very important purpose here. By laying bare blatant hypocrisy and toxicity of the Indian wedding industry, Indian Matchmaking has indeed initiated a conversation that so many women of “marriageable age” have been trying to make for the longest time now.
There’s so much to be said as the show’s host Sima aunty goes about ridiculing women for rejecting men and having strong opinions, while nonchalantly terming it as a matter of being “unsure” and “confused” when the same is done by men. And while she might say otherwise, arranged marriage does seem like ordering from a menu in India as families go on making ludicrous demands.
Akshay Jakhete, one of Sima aunties clients, and his family single-handedly take care of explicitly bringing out the ordeals of arranged marriage for women. They want a ‘slim, trim, educated’ girl, who is above 5’3” and also ‘flexible’. Also, Akshay doesn’t really know what he seeks in a life partner but is quite sure that she has to be “exactly like his mom.”
And as cringy and ridiculous as the entire sequence on the show might sound, this is, in fact, the ground reality of Indian arranged marriage scene. Actually not really, it gets worse. From asking them to leave their jobs to ‘take care of the family’ to changing their spiritual leanings, Indian women have to face all kinds of ludicrous demands during arranged rishta meetings.
I once met a family who wanted a working bahu who could also do the housework ‘coz and I quote the potential matches mom here, “Hume bai ka kaam achcha nahi lagta.” Having assessed that we were a close-knit family, she also wanted the surety that I wouldn’t be “too involved” with my family post marriage. But wait, there’s more! She expected my parents to touch her and her husband’s feet since they were the ladkawalas, expected shagun’s (read money) on every single Hindu festival, and wanted a grandchild asap! I simply didn’t have it in me to go ahead with the crapload of expectations and we bid our prompt adieus to the family.
That said, this is, in fact how it keeps unfolding for so many unmarried women in India. Recently, journalist Rituparna Chatterjee started a thread on Twitter while sharing her ordeal with the Indian arranged marriage system. Here’s what she had to go through:
Soon after Rituparna’s post, the thread caught on as women started coming out with their horrific experiences during rishta meetings and ridiculous expectations that they were presented with. Here’s what some of them shared:
Well Sima aunty, perhaps “compromising” is a part of life, but this attitude of entitlement and high headedness that ladkewalas in India come with should definitely be not! Actually, this is exactly the department we’d rather not compromise in especially for families that think of daughters-in-law as their effing properties. We have had enough!
Featured Image: Twitter