Indian Matchmaking: The cupid is in the house!

Arre, Aunty is here! She has photos of more eligible bachelors - just not of my ‘match’. If only I could choose the most suitable boy - Ishaan Khatter! But, sadly, he doesn’t belong to my community, is of (below) average height and not as fair as my mother wants my to-be-hubby to be,” laments Bijli*.

Disclaimer: Please stop reading right away if neither you nor any of your relatives share these sensibilities. Such people may be in minority, but they do exist. Gender don’t matter, everyone is looking for someone – the just-right someone. They believe a pinch of a sense of humour, a dash of height and a few tablespoons of money would make or break that perfect pick. The perennial search for an ideal companion doesn’t know any boundaries.

And so we bring into our homes the Sima Aunties...

Paraphrasing the Kareena Kapoor Khan-Imran Khan ditty from the movie Ek Main Aur EK Tu, you may sing “Aunty ji, aunty ji, get the right girl and I will dance/ Aunty ji, aunty ji, please find me a perfect bahu and I will dance” while you swing to her tunes and show your ‘flexible’ moves.

The criteria for selection may be flawed in our households but such searches are common in all houses across the world. Okay, may be not right now - since (hopefully!) half the world is in lockdown and stuck at home.

Take, for example, Dhurandhar* whose search for a partner has hit a wall after five years of chasing the dream of a suitable rishta. His parents were okay with anybody he chose but, not having found anyone on his own, Dhurandhar has finally consented to get the help of his very own ‘Sima Aunty’. And once she entered the picture, the search changes and is inevitably shaped by caste, colour, creed and cash. Forget Martin Luther King Jr. – Long live Sima aunty!

About the show, he is clear that “It works precisely because it’s so sexist, racist, classist — and that’s what we are. Sima Aunty is, basically, us. And this upsets us because we don’t like to admit that.”

Just a mirror to an existing reality

Jwalamukhi*, an eligible girl in her mid-30s, avers, “We may not like her, and want her ilk to raise pertinent questions about the archaic ideology that centres on arranged marriages. But why do we expect movies and series to raise such questions? Aren’t they raising questions by the very fact of not raising them? Such issues are a talking point now only because of the show.”

She continues, “Earlier shows and movies like ‘Mr Yogi’ or ‘What’s your Rashee?’ didn’t raise more than a smile for the former and a smirk for the latter. To be honest, we’re evolving; isn’t that enough?”

Dhurandhar concurs, “Aunty is like the poacher who kills elephants because there’s a market for ivory. The most reviled of villains online, she just holds a mirror to the reality. The show is controversial, and I, for one, can’t stand Sima Aunty. But I’ve to admit that I know many people like her within my own family.”

Puriniti*, mother of two 20-somethings – a boy and a girl – and an executive in an MNC, says, “I have told my kids that they can marry anyone they like, and ended up upsetting my sister, who believes marrying within the community is important to a happy married life. So, why single out Sima Aunty – we’re all the same.” She reasons “Our society has to change for shows/movies to change. It’s not easy to be progressive; be it the Aunty or shows, it is all about market economics, demand and supply. The day we stop searching for that boy/girl from our own community, village and lane, we will put the Sima Aunties out of their jobs.”

While the debate may continue ad perpetuum, let’s end on a sweet note with another song for Sima Aunty, one that should be a favourite of all Indian households with eligible boys/girls:

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,

Make me a match,

Find me a find,

Catch me a catch

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Look through your book,

And make me a perfect match!

(NOTE: This piece is a light-hearted take-off on the current sentiments regarding an online series, and in no way should it be taken seriously. As should our sentiments regarding the same!!)

*All the characters are figments of the author’s imagination, as none could be found who supported Sima Aunty.

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