Have you watched the new series on Netflix called the Indian Matchmaking? I did last week. Binged watched two seasons in a few days. It follows the work of a matchmaker Mrs. Seema Taparia from Mumbai who arranges marriages for couples in India and abroad. Like a bad car accident you don’t want to look but you can’t help but look.It makes you cringe, shock and leaves you thinking. Arranged Marriages are a very normal part of our Indian culture and you simply can’t ignore the concept.
Arranged marriage is like family tinder where the whole family sits together and swipes right. (said on the show)
This new series generated a lot of buzz online about how regressive the thought process is but if you take a step back and think it makes us cringe because it is a reality. We don’t want to say it but it is true.
A typical Arranged Marriage process is-
- Profile selected through a matchmaker or online
- Boy’s career, financial status, cast and family plays a big role.
- Girl has to be well educated, cultured, fair skinned, attractive, homely and the list goes on.
- In some Indian cultures astrology plays a huge role. The calculation of Gunas aka common qualities for compatibility is like a forecast of how successful the marriage will be. The Pandit ji pays a very important role and no where to be found if his forecast does not work. If you go to him complaining he will blame it on some planet and suggest you some Upay(remedy).
- The modern parents allow the kids to meet in a public place.
- First meeting between the couple is like the date of the lifetime.
- The girl should come across modern yet Sanskaari. She has to dress Modern conservative which means no legs on display. She must also order a Mocktail or a juice. The Beer can wait till the honeymoon!
- The boy will talk about his life to give her an idea about what he can offer. The modern man will make it clear about supporting her career and dreams yet clarify the expectations the family has from his future wife.
- The end of the meeting is often an awkward goodbye. The couple goes back to their respective families and submits a detailed analysis.
- A phone call, followed by a trip to the families house to judge the living conditions and status the families finally say…. Yes.
If you say You had a love marriage and don’t believe in arranged marriages, I will tell you to take a step back and Don’t judge.
The traditions and rituals and the heavy load of expectations follow a long time after marriage also even if it is not an arranged marriage. From the first karvachauth, to birthdays, to first baby and keeping the extended family happy on festivals. It is literally a marriage between families and to be nurtured for life. You might have escaped a few things but must have encountered or been guilty to something. If you have attended some family wedding and came back with an envelope or gift of shagun from the girl’s family you are very much part of this circus. Love or arrange it’s a choice you make.
While we may cringe at few things arrange set up does offer some comfort and reassurance because it’s vetted by families and couple involved wants marriage and discuss important things at the beginning of the relationship. It helps connect families with similar backgrounds and expectations and many couples do have a choice if they wish to pursue it further or not . End of the day it is to each it’s own.
The show made me feel sorry for a few people because some were really clueless and confused by the expectations of their families. Some people stood out because they were clear about who they were and what they are looking for in a partner. It was wonderful to see some didn’t follow Seema aunty and followed their gut and heart. The single mother found love again and some found heartbreak.
So Yes! We are probably gullible, trust our families to marry complete strangers and even fall in love easily but the broader message to learn is that there is more to life than just getting hitched! Love should not cost you your dreams and self-respect. It is okay to look for love and also okay to fail.
So order the Cocktail, be yourself and find out who you are First!
Cheers to Love 🙂