If you watched Netflix’s recent series, Indian Matchmaking, you’d have followed the shenanigans of traditional Indian matchmaker Sima Auntie and her attempts to find a perfect match for men and women in India and even the US.
The show, while throwing light on the traditional Indian matchmaking process, also received a lot of flak on the misogyny and stereotypes it propagated through its characters. But Indian Matchmaking mirrors how the “arranged marriage” market has been working in India over decades.
Nothing has changed really, only that today’s Sima Auntie dresses in designer clothes, pores over Excel sheets, and jet-sets all over the world to find the “perfect” matches for her clients. At heart, she remains judgemental and sticks to stereotypes, and has a lot of expectations from the men and women she promises to find matches for.
Finding the perfect match
Among the plethora of characters that defined Indian Matchmaking, Rupam, a single, divorced mother from the US, stood out as she quite sure of what she wanted from her “match”. She, however, met her match, literally, on dating app, Bumble.
The 37-year-old, a practising physician and mother, recently got engaged to her match from Bumble, Nitin.
“I downloaded Bumble two years ago when I was ready to give myself a chance at finding love again. It did take me some time (and a lot of first dates) to find the right match, but it was important for me to not lose hope. Since I was looking for a meaningful long-term relationship, I was keen to find a like-minded partner. I used the Education and Religion Filter while swiping on Bumble,” she tells HerStory.
Rupam matched with Nitin in New York when she was traveling. “I had an amazing 24-hour date – we spent the whole day together, starting with brunch and hiking and finishing up with dinner at a steakhouse. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever had. It was always important to me that my partner respected my past, accepted me as a mother, and shared the same values as me. Nitin is the most caring, loving, and kind person I’ve met,” she adds.
The two got engaged during the pandemic, have been quarantining together ever since, and are looking at a fall wedding.
Explaining how Bumble worked in her favour, Rupam says, “I was so happy to match with my fiancé, a like-minded progressive professional of the same faith! My faith has been an important part of my value system and I definitely wanted to be with someone who had a similar outlook. I also really liked that his profile had a wonderful picture with his daughter. In addition to the Bumble Filters, I’ve also used the Video Chat feature as we were in a long-distance relationship at the start of our relationship. This new way of connecting definitely brought us closer despite being in different cities.”
Seeking love, her own way
Even though she had opted for traditional matchmaking at some point, following which she was featured on the Netflix show, Rupam had her misgivings about the whole process.
“I remember being constantly told by elders and matchmakers that my options would be limited, and I would only have a chance at ‘being settled’ if I checked all the ‘socially acceptable’ boxes. However, this narrative was not acceptable to me. I wanted love, so I decided to do it my way. When I was ready to date, I downloaded Bumble, actively took charge of my destiny, and created my own love story.”
Rupam’s happily-ever-after story has renewed her faith in dating apps. And she says she’d definitely recommend Bumble to all single women looking for love. As opposed to traditional matchmaking, she found it empowering to write her own love story without having to make any sacrifices or compromises.
“Ultimately, it is important to share an equal relationship with a partner who is considerate, respectful, and trustworthy – irrespective of where and how you find them. As for advice to any single woman out there – I would say be bold; it is time to take matters into your own hands and write your own destiny,” she says.
Bumble is cashing in on research that says that by 2022 over 41 million Indian singles will be on dating apps – that’s nearly 50 percent of the 2011 census single population, according to online market researcher Statista.
“As a social networking app by women, for everyone, we envision a world free of misogyny, where all relationships are equal. Our CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, founded Bumble in 2014 with a mission to help end misogyny and create a safe and empowered space for women to make the first move in romantic relationships with an aim to challenge the antiquated rules of dating. With over four million users in India, we look forward to taking our mission and bringing a cultural shift in equality to cities and communities across India,” says Priti Joshi, Vice President, Strategy, Bumble.
For Rupam, the biggest endorsement of finding love has come from her daughter. “When she got to know about the proposal, her reaction was pure excitement and she started screaming, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” she says.
Modern-day “walks into the sunset” and happily ever afters are now not made on earth, but on dating apps.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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