Series Review : Indian Matchmaker (And Why So Many of Us Need Seema Aunty In Our Lives)

Indian Matchmaking: An 8-episode of misguided gender politics, ultimately a  betrayal for Indian audiences | Lifestyle News,The Indian Express

Let me start by saying that this post is rather delayed as Indian Matchmaker was trending quite a while ago on Netflix. That said, I still think the content is worthy of praise so here goes …

Most of us know that arranged/assisted (vom) marriage is part of South Asian culture. I even dissected the so-called merits of this practice in one of my blog posts a while back. In fact, getting a little bit of assistance when it comes to finding ‘happily’ ever after – it happens all over Africa as well (although, I have to say their system seems better for us chicks, so it looks like the lesser of two evils). Anyway, as a brown kid raised in one of of the most progressive cities in the world (yes people, London didn’t vote for Brexit!) this idea of Mummy and Daddy choosing me a hubby seemed like a pretty absurd idea (my folks will happily tell you that they couldn’t pay a bloke enough to take me off their hands!) and honestly, I don’t actually know any one who has been through such a process (although, there have been attempts so I’ve heard). So basically, the idea of an arranged marriage, matchmakers or any sort of parental involvement in a person’s love life seem rather abstract and somewhat provincial to me. But, turns it out it really isn’t and that’s what Indian Matchmaker is all about.

So this 8-part Netflix series follows Seema Aunty, a renowned Indian Matchmaker who hails from the mean streets of Mumbai, as she’ll gladly tell anyone who asks. And now, Seema Aunty is not just one of those random friends of you mum’s who was hanging around sticking her nose in eveyones business when you were growing up. She is a professional. So much so, that its not only (the ever-so-fabulous) Indian people from India that utilise her services but also fairly well-to-do, highly-educated and successful people of Indian heritage from the USA. No joke, these people fly her in from Mumbai. And they are not all munters either (some are actually quite pretty). So what gives?

Modern Dating Just Isn’t Working

No Shit Sherlock. Anyone who has Tindered up a storm at some point in their lives knows full well how soul destroying modern dating is. Constant swiping, dud dates and cess pool full of sociopaths, mummy’s boys, rinsers and Tory bigots…Can you blame a chick (or lad) for giving up and resigning themselves to life as a born again virgin? Not really.

But People Are Too Busy Making Themselves Successful and Dateable To Actually Date

All the characters in this documentary series seem to be highly successful – lawyers, business tycoons and even a Bollywood dancer/wedding planner (gosh, organising people’s weddings while being a failure at romance must be freaking hard!). And its not just that, they are all pretty decent looking and have interests. So all in all, these are highly dateable people (some of whom do have ridiculously high standards) but it seems that they are all to busy becoming successful to actually invest in their own dating lives. So, why not get Seema Aunty to do the dog work for you?

Millenials Will Be Millenials (No Matter How Much Money Is Thrown At A Problem)

You’d think that people who’ve invested shit tonnes of money (or their parents) flying a matchmaker in from Mumbai would take the process seriously. But no. As much as people might be reverting to more traditional forms of dating, modern phenomena are still strong. There is one guy who after a handful of dates with a girl who is completely out of his league in more ways than one suddenly ghosts her (and on more than one occassion). And with lame-ass excuses such as falling asleep after a tough gym workout and having to hang out with his sister. Ugh. Seema Aunty can’t be dealing with this shit people!

Young People Are Still Buying Into Toxic Cultural Norms – Why?!?!

Now here is something I just can’t relate too. I get that our western idea about being free to choose who or what we want to date has its issues, I really do BUT there is soooo much more wrong with the Indian Matchmaker way of doing things. I don’t know where to start. To name a few problematic issues raised in the series 1. If your great-great grandparents were shipped off to another country at some point in history you aren’t considered ‘Indian’ enough even by families who’ve spent most of their lives in the US. Sigh. 2) If your dad was in jail, well, then you are of bad stock. Parents, please behave! (my dad spent a night in jail for driving over the limit – so I’m royally screwed!) 3) Being a divorcee is worse than being infected with Corona – so just give up already. 4) Oh, and if you aren’t a replica of his mum you’ve got no hope.

But more than these ridiculous notions themselves are the young, educated, highly successful people that are buying into it. It’s totally insane. Some of them seem genuinely bleak about their standing under such a system but they are choosing to be a part of it. I can perhaps get my head around the fact that people have their reasons for marrying people who share a cultural heritage with them, but if that system doesn’t work for you and tells you that you are basically trash why support it? Answers on a postcard. Please.

According To Seema Aunty (And My Mother) Compromise is Key

Aspiring to date a guy that can read, can bench 200 and doesn’t smack his biatch about is a lot to ask. My mother constantly tells me, I’m too fussy and Seema Aunty agrees. Apparently our generation is asking for too much – we need to learn to compromise and start settling for any village idiot. To be fair, some of the deal breakers these kids have were a bit much (one guy basically admitted to wanting to date his mum) but yeah, if you are going to the Matchmaker route you better be give up on any hope of finding butterflies or the like.

In any case, this is a highly entertaining binge-worthy series that’ll likely make you LOL and want to throw things at the wall in frustration at the same time. It’s 100 percent worth watching – if only to get some gems from the absolute legend that is Seema Aunty. Although, I do warn you it might f*ck with your head – I ended up having a vivid dream that I agreed to marry some backwater bloke from the island who only wanted me for my Brit passport (not sure it’ll be that much of a highly sought after commodity if Brexit ever happens) and only realised once I’d started walking down the aisle that I didn’t have the cash money to afford a divorce lawyer. Yeah, it’ll screw with you but watch it anyway! Come back and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Rinsers, have you seen Indian Matchmaker? What are your thoughts on arranged marriage? Do you think parents should have a say (even playing third wheel on the dates)? Are you so disillusioned with modern dating that hiring Seema Aunty looks like a viable option? Is our generation just to fussy and unwilling to compromise? Talk to me!

One comment

  1. I think for some people who are friendly with their parents (not just on social media, I mean like their parents REALLY know them) perhaps some help from them isn’t the worst idea. In general, I don’t know too many people with great relationships with their parents. Most of people I know provides their folks with some curated version of themselves to avoid issues. It’s sad perhaps but it’s also what it is. Another thing is that parents often have old school views (like some of the ones you’ve shared) that the younger generation often just doesn’t agree with. While to my mother it’s the most important that a man has a university degree (at least MA from a top university), comes from a “good” family (= lawyers, doctors or tech), never dyes his hair or does anything that my mother considers “feminine” (as FYI wearing colourful shirts is a sure sign of being secretly gay) my personal preferences are completely different.
    This is why I think your friends would be much better at arranging a potential date or a match. When it comes to a professional match maker I definitely think it can help some people. To be fair it’s more like very selective Tinder/Okcupid so I totally see how it could work. Then again it can only work if a matchmaker does their search according to your priorities and not your parents’ (yet again, the old school stuff you’ve mentioned).
    Last but not least, when it comes to being picky as you say some people are ridiculous with their expectations. However, I don’t think most people I know are picky like the elders say. Our mothers (sometimes fathers) can’t get over the fact how “old” we are when we settle these days so they’re a bit obsessed. My mom was on my case because I dumped my bf who was really basic as it turned out also racist AND I was half-supporting him. Apparently you can’t aspire to more at the ripe age of 26 because that makes you picky… So no, I don’t think wanting someone who you’re really a match with is picky as long as you yourself are more or less sorted.

    Like

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