An Unembarrassed Commentary Of Indian Matchmaking
Before you begin with your judgments, and I with my justifications as to why I was indulging (and unembarrasedly binging) on Netflix's latest addition, can we please take a moment to appreciate Sima Taparia from Mumbai i.e. Sima Mami, for all the crazy she has resulted to being (or probably already was), because of all the crazy she is constantly surrounded by?
Stop right there, stop shaking your head with judgment. For entertainment, as Sima Mami would say, "you have to adjust, you have to compromise."
I mean, I'm not shy to admit that, what initially rose as an absolutely innocent curiosity and unparalleled naivety of having control over being able to stop after a couple of minutes of amusement, converted into binging all eight episodes of Indian Matchmaking in a single day.
Blame Sima Mami!
She strategically ended every episode on a cliff hanger, and Netflix didn't leave me with much of a choice with its over-enthusiastic autoplay of the 'Next Episode in 5, 4, 3...' countdown.
I've spent almost a week with zero content consumption, with an ever-growing list of movies, by my side (yes, I make lists for everything), for a while now; until of course Sima Mami came along.
A day ago, post-dinner, I heard my parents giggling like children while watching this new TV series that they had stumbled upon on Netflix. Now, to give you context, the two most popularly consumed genres of content by my parents, are either Indian News or, Old Classic Bollywood Movies. So, for me to find these two munchkins hooked on something new, definitely tickled my curiosity.
So I start off with Episode 1, 'Slim, Trim, and Educated.' If you find yourself raising your eyebrows at this, brace yourself, this isn't for the faint-hearted; repeat after Sima Mami, "you have to be flexible." Where else, would you find, and be fully exposed to content as bizarrely addictive as this? Oh come now, don't be so fussy, Sima Mami's show will definitely fall under fulfilling your entertainment criteria and preferences, I promise, and here's why:
It's based on true events (scary, comical, worrying but all true.) Sima Mami draws light on the fact that people like these actually do exist, globally, even in a time and age as this. She is just the "mediator." I can't not mention, Aparna and her mom, who in my honest opinion should just get married to each other; or Pradhyuman with his thought-process and knowledge, being inversely opposite sized to his finger-print locked, ginormous closet, or even Akshay's mom, who by the way is worthy of a whole different piece of babble altogether.
We are now fully exposed to luxurious, "normal" lifestyles/expectations of the wealthy families in India & America, and an even more bizarre norm of parents intervening and pressurizing their overgrown babies (yes, I am talking about Akshay, and his Ma.) I mean, do you remember the scene where Akshay's mom tells him that he has to get married end of the year, so his brother can have a baby the next year? I don't think I have cringed as hard in any scene, as I did in this particular one.
Ofcourse, we have often seen this is a global problem but the patriarchal driven Indian society is hard-hittingly highlighted in this show. I mean, "who wouldn't want a slim, trim, educated, beautiful wife?" Is Sima Mami on point, or what?
Marriage isn't just the union of two individuals but in essence, a union between two families, their reputation and let's not forget, their million dollars. Sima Mami couldn't have highlighted this more, with every new development into the show.
Every episode starts off with a super lovable, couple that have been married for umpteen years, with them narrating their experiences of meeting their spouses, back in their day. This one is my favorite repetition in all of the episodes. Look out for the couple, in Episode 3; they are the epitome of adorable.
Matching of the "stars" is a lot more critical than matching each other's wavelengths. Yes, astrology, face-reading, numerology and all of that mumbo-jumbo are a few ingredients that are portrayed to be an insurance for "a successful marriage."
Match-making is a legit business. We are completely ignorant of it, but this is an ongoing, unstoppable, unnoticed industry. Let's not forget to mention the light thrown on the likes of Geeta the "modern-day" matchmaker who clearly shared a very obvious rivalry, and even more regressive opinions than our beloved Sima Mami, with her endless mine of biodatas from her traditional Indian families.
"They want everything, " often rambled on loop by Sima Mami while she complains, about her clientele. Lo' behold, she gives us everything. Pure, unadulterated, unfiltered thrashy entertainment.
If I wasn't Indian, I'd be watching this with a bucket of popcorn, and forming wholly different notions of these otherworldly creatures from the snake-charming subcontinent.
Being Indian, I still found myself, binge-watching this with a bucket of popcorn, and cringing while being humored in almost every scene. As much as I would love to disagree with the way Indians would be perceived after the drop of this super controversial piece dripping with casual sexism, casteism, colorism, classism and let's not leave out the slim, trim, beautiful health-freaks, or over-controlling parents, I can't help but find myself agreeing with how candidly it has been narrated. Don't be disheartened, as Sima Mami would say, "for happiness, they have to little compromise."
This show doesn't teach you anything that you don't already know, or haven't heard of, it's just a series of episodes that highlight a lot of underlying worrying issues that are casually ignored, and displayed in bizarre humour.
If you have a good five hours to spare, go on, tickle your humor. "Ultimately, all my efforts are meaningless, if the stars aren't aligned," for you to watch this atrociously addictive show.
Spoiler alert: The season finale ends on a cliff hanger, so we do know, that there will be a Sima Mami, 2.0. I for one, shamelessly, can't wait for it.
With love, and hopefully unjudged,
Stories By Giggles