Whether you’re guilty of binging the Netflix reality sensation Indian Matchmaking because you love it or love to hate it, it’s interesting to note how the face of the show, Sima Taparia from Mumbai, has catapulted into the spotlight. While Netflix originally rejected the show because it ‘wasn’t white enough,’ some of these cringe-worthy pearls of wisdom (or vishesh tipanni) from Sima Mami, the Pablo Escobar of arranged marriages herself demonstrate stereotyping,discrimination and apathy that is borderline American.
- “Marriages nowadays are like biscuits, they keep breaking“- this is the only quote that I personally believe rivals Preeti Bua’s “my main concern is that the girl should be flexible.” Understandably, the traditional Indian obsession with chai-biscuit is deep-rooted, along with the habit of meddling in relationships. Instead of recognising that all marriages cannot last forever and that some couples have the courage to separate, Sima Mami generalises rational couples who do not wish to bear the uncomfortable silence much longer. Perhaps she can advise future clients to nibble some Parle G to help them make smarter decisions.
- “Tall, slim, trim“- Ah, a quote that reeks of colonial stereotypes and drinking game opportunities. If you really want to get wasted, take a shot every time Sima Taparia praises a female client and deems her a prospective bride by virtue of her appearance. Of course, follow-ups about their fairness and ‘good’ (READ: subservient) nature can be followed up with another shot. Actually, Indian society is already damaged enough by the objectification of women (who, from this quote, ought to resemble crystal vases.) Destroying your liver with this game might be a little risky, it could kill you like this show aims to kill the idea of women having personalities.
- “Indians are scared of bahus who are lawyers-” Naturally. I do believe this statement is more than an attempt to justify Simaji’s failure to find successful, independent Aparna a match. I mean, it’s obvious that the lion’s share of her clients (READ: prospective saasumas) are terrified of bahus that might know how to argue. Bhagwan na kare Radhika has a different opinion from Akshay (who has the same opinions as his mother AKA his ideal wife.) She already plans to work!
- “I think she should change her talking pattern also“- Uh, what? Aunty, most of your grooms-to-be have the same accent because any wealthy NRI boy you’re indulging will talk aise hi. If you’re referring literally to her syntax, there’s nothing wrong with it. To be fair, Aparna does have a slight attitude ( in my opinion) but she speaks her mind, and that appears to be quite the healthy pattern to me.
- “…and someone who satisfies both mother and daughter.”- This one just made me laugh incessantly. To quote a slightly crass friend, “Is she trying to fix them up with Johnny Sins?” Jokes apart, this line probably speaks to a subconscious view of men in marriages being virile and ‘strong,’ apparently the only criteria by which to judge a prospective groom (only if the stars are aligned though.)
At the end of the day (or the season) Sima Taparia’s words have made her a meme queen who rivals reality TV empress Kris Jenner. That’s fair. One used a sex tape to make her family famous, and the other used a good ol’ recipe of patriarchal values, colonial tastes, and mothers-in-law with high BP.