‘Hello! I’m Sima Aunty from Mumbai’ showed up on Netflix and everyone (including those who think arranged marriages are a thing to be laughed at) watched.
Sima Taparia travels to New York and Miami and Nasik and Delhi to share ‘bio datas’ of young men and women who want to be married. She charges anywhere between ₹1 lakh and ₹5 lakh (US $1,330 to $8,000), from both sides of the match.
Arranged marriages are not made in heaven. Sima knows best. Or does she?
When the third season dropped recently, it became clear. Matchmaking is about the money, honey. It’s just cloaked in silk and diamonds. These are the lessons you will learn when you cringe-watch shows such as these.
What you want vs. what you get
Just like you know how much money you have to say, invest in a mutual fund, don’t let an overenthusiastic money manager tell you as Sima Aunty does: You are very demanding. You will not get 100%. You must settle for less.
It is your money. If you want your money to work for you, you try harder. Why settle for the fifty or sixty percent that Sima Aunty is offering when you want the best investment ideas for your money?
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One of the young women on Sima aunty’s list wanted a man who had a full head of hair. Now it seems like a trivial thing, but for that young woman, it’s a question of chemistry. Imagine if your money was to be invested in a company that buys blood diamonds. If you have moral priorities, would you turn a blind eye to such an offering?
It’s your money, demand more. Make it work for you.
Strange ways to insult your intelligence
Let’s say you are that young man on Sima Aunty’s list who talks too much, but is a very very good maths teacher. The show makes you look ridiculous because the girl Sima Aunty introduces you to thinks you should be ‘friend zoned’.
If you are that young man, wouldn’t you want your money back? And hate being shown in a less than decent light?
So invest clearly. Don’t let anyone think your money doesn’t count because you are perceived to be a small investor when compared with some gazillionaire. Change the Sima Aunty who tells you ‘itna paisa mein itnaich milega’.
Tell her her methods of visiting a ‘face reader’ and ‘astrologer’ are not exactly scientific methods for finding a match just because the very smart lawyer in the US will not agree to be matched with some guy who doesn’t like an independent woman. Your money can do better. Research your options before making that long term commitment.
Is the big fat Indian wedding a waste of money?
Your favourite singer flashes that princess cut diamond for People magazine. Your favourite cricketer or movie star marries an equally famous person at some fabulous destination. And you suddenly realise that wedding planners exist and you are asking your family to wear ‘western formals’ and participate in very Bollywood customs that have nothing to do with your culture.
Don’t get me wrong, Indians have always invited the whole village and their ‘distant relatives’ because ‘they invited us, so we should invite them too’ rule has worked like a charm.
In fact the whole business of planners, organisers and executors who have taken place for that one enthu cutlet of an uncle who knows every priest, every ritual and the aunt who knows whom to invite or not… It’s a good thing if you have the money to splurge, but if you have a budget, then be prudent. They will say ‘once in your lifetime’, ‘you always wanted a fairy tale wedding’, but ‘they’ aren’t footing the bill, so be smart.
There’s just one money word you will learn from the Big Indian Wedding show: Plan.
You plan for holidays and rainy days, then why not for a wedding? Will you allow yourself to be bamboozled into wearing a ridiculous ‘prince’ or ‘princess’ outfit if it costs all your savings?
‘Is the juice worth the squeeze?’ you should ask. Wouldn’t you rather pool the money with the person you are marrying and invest in a home? Use the jaw droppingly ridiculous decor of the big fat Indian wedding show and mirror it to what you are stepping into. Think before you get married in a setting with gigantic teapots and rabbits and wait staff dressed up as the army of the queen of hearts…
You must make your money work harder. Just as you won’t drag your entire family to Amalfi because your idol got married there, know where your money is going and why it is the best option for you.
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. She can be reached on Twitter at @manishalakhe.