Marriages Are Made In Heaven Or Are They?
Photo: Sima Taparia with Smita Vasant
By Sonal S Ladva
CERRITOS, CA – The banquet hall at the Cerritos Sheraton hotel here, on January 9 was buzzing with energy and music when Sima Taparia, also known as ‘Sima Aunty’ from the Netflix show ‘Indian Matchmaking,’ danced her way into the hall to the song ‘Shaadi Ki Taiyaree Hain’ to meet and greet the singles and fans who had gathered there.
Basking in the glory of her newfound fame, Sima Aunty then mingled, to the delight of her fans and graciously took pictures with anyone who requested it.
The elegant event organized by Smita Vasant, an active community member of Southern California and founder of the Saffron Spot brand of ice creams, saw an equal number of men and women in their 20s and 30s enjoying the wine and cheese while getting to know each other and navigating the room, ensuring not to miss the opportunity to meet a prospective soulmate. Sprinkled among these were also some parents who came to get a glimpse of the Millennials and Gen Z.
The traditional ‘arranged marriages’ of India have moved with the times, and parents have passed the baton of decision-making to the actual candidates. The ‘arrangement’ is now limited to recommending and organizing for the boy and girl to meet. But, “Family plays an important role even today,” said Sima Aunty during the Q&A session. “Marriage in India is not just two individuals but two families.” And, in fact, her reality series shows her actively attempting to connect both sets of parents, not just the boy and girl.
But nothing topped her advice as ‘compromise,’ which she changed to the word ‘adjustment.’ She was convinced, she said, that no matter what the wish list of expectations, it would cap at 60 -70%. Not all agreed with this score for compatibility in a life partner. “A 30% delta is too much work in a relationship. It could get tiring, especially if the 30% is not known or revealed later!” said a Gen Z during a discussion. The other deal breakers, according to Seema are ego, pickiness, and impatience.
She complimented the youth for being well-informed, financially independent, and smart. “Gone are the days when we listened, respected, and obeyed their decisions on the choice of our future spouse!” she declared.
Smita Vasant then invited Anup Taparia, the real-life husband of Sima Aunty, on stage. Sharing tips on a successful marriage, he said that despite any differences or conflicts, the couple should always sleep on the same bed.
Present at the event was the Mayor of Cerritos Chuong Vo and Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors who conferred Sima Taparia with a certificate and talked about the significance of the Indian American community, along with the other Asian ethnicities, who together constitute about 60% of the city of Cerritos.
Mala Jewelers displayed their diamond collections, and Saahas for Cause, a community-based organization, had a booth to apprise the audience of their activities.
The evening wound down with music, dance, and the hope that some unions were also going to be made in Cerritos that night.
The Indian wedding industry by some estimates, is a trillion-dollar one and has drawn global attention. But the process that culminates in these marriages was brought to light by Netflix. A conversation on how the ‘arranged marriages’ of India can meet the modern era love marriages has just begun.