The story of matchmaking

Indian Matchmaking’ is a Netflix production that features Sima ‘aunty’ Taparia, a matchmaker who helps people unlucky in love to find those that they can connect with. Arranged marriages are a common thing in India and other parts of the world. Traditionally in Africa it was done between families belonging to a certain class in order not to mess with the ‘genes’. 

This series portrays modern age matchmaking with the help of a professional matchmaker who is hired and paid. It also shows that matchmaking is not necessarily for those that have failed or are desperate; some are just too busy and decide to pay a helper, same way they would do with house chores.

 

The kind of matchmaking I have seen is of people that are of age, widowed or divorced. Quite rarely is it done for eligible bachelors and spinsters I know, but it exists. 

 

Sima’s process of matching young and successful people is gruesome. She flies between states to meet and assess candidates. She visits their homes checking out their closets to get an idea of who they really are and whether they are ready for a ‘housemate’. 

 

She has been married for 36 years and says she does her best to match people because she wants them to find happiness; you can feel her frustration when she presents a bio data and it is rejected, or when someone is just too hard to please.

Sima is quite impressive and thorough, even though some matches did not work she was not deterred. She describes a lawyer client as choosy and when there was a Guyanese client she did her best to find a Guyanese match.

I know of matchmaking services in Kenya but haven’t heard of any in Kigali. Well, nothing public, could this be the place where matchmaking between families thrives? 

In ‘Indian Matchmaking’ characters proudly admit they need help finding a suitor, parents too take part in the selection. Sima actually insists on parents guiding their children, and says marriage is between families not a girl and a boy. The part of parents participating I don’t buy, I want them to meet someone I have found on my own. 

There has always been negativity associated with ‘lonely hearts,’ gosh, I can’t believe the name of that newspaper column in Kenya, yet people would take part and talk about themselves, describing qualities they want in a partner. There came radio shows too, that became popular for hooking people up. I detested ‘Abanoonya’ (people searching for love) a TV programme that I thought was demeaning women. I later cut them some slack because the women did not mind showing their faces and doing a catwalk in front of the camera to show their front and backside. 

Matchmaking is actually a thing and it is to help the ones that can’t find love on their own for whatever reason. It is encouraging to see successful women and men seek help, not because they are ugly, lazy or hard to be with, but because they are too busy to trace or be traced. That is a good thing, it creates job opportunities for some and finds love for others. 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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