Sima Taparia — also known as "Sima from Mumbai" — is back for Season Two of "Indian Matchmaking," this time armed with an even more extensive collection of biodatas.
In the show, the matchmaker, often referred to as "Sima Aunty," works with South Asian singles in India and the diaspora to help find their future partners.
Together, Taparia and her clients build (and dismantle) lists of "criteria," dissect first dates and consult astrologers. Her mantra throughout the season is to compromise, because no client will get every point listed on their criteria. Utilizing her expansive network, she finds potential matches for her clients who then choose the one they resonate with the most, often meeting the entire family on the first date. The challenge then becomes whether or not there will be a second date.
Taparia sat down with TODAY from her mom's house in Gulbarga, a city in the Indian state of Karnataka, to discuss her career choice, her dating strategies and her honest thoughts on arranged marriages.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Why did you get into matchmaking? What do you get out of it?
Since childhood, I have had a unique ability to talk to people. I'm fond of socializing, meeting people, understanding their personalities. And I like to understand their family relatives also — who are their connections? So my husband suggested (to) me, "Why don't you do matchmaking? It's very important in our community, especially in India. They don't have an authentic and genuine matchmaker."
So, I decided to take this job. I want to help my community and my people — so when God gave me this unique quality, I said, "I can be a matchmaker." In 2005, I started doing matchmaking.
What are your matchmaking strategies?
I have a unique way of working. I don't work for any client with whom, personally, I don't have any eye contact. I go meet (them), see their house, how they are living. I see their business, I ask the criterias (for their match), all the definitions, what you want, what type of partner you want.
When somebody gives me their biodata, I don't accept without seeing (them in person). Without eye connection, I don't feel like working and I don't get the confidence. That's my goodwill. That has taken me to the great heights.
What is your definition of a good marriage?
The definition of a good marriage is that literally, you have to be little adjusting in the light. Understanding is very important between the partners. The biggest thing is patience — nowadays, this generation is not having patience. (You have to) be flexible, have patience ... I'll give you an example. When we are at the airport and the flight is late for two hours, what do you do? You sit quietly ... and you have to wait for two hours because you are adjusting. In every situation, you have to adjust, so why not in your married life?
What role does marriage play in your own life? Do you talk to your husband about your matchmaking business?
My marriage is 39 years. I have a very good married life because we both compromise and we both adjust. My husband and myself, we are East and West. But in today's generation they say, "Oh, she's not my type." What's the meaning of "my type?" No person can ever be same. You have to be flexible. Okay, one is East, one is West, so what? You can be together by adjusting.
My husband is a pillar of strength behind me. If he was not standing behind me, I could have not gone to such great heights. He helps me anytime I ask for suggestions he gives me a suggestion or sometimes he suggests some client also. He helps me a lot and he's a pillar of support.
What do you like most about working with clients on the show?
I'm doing my job and the camera follows, that's all. I'm talking to my client, I'm giving them advice, I'm giving them guidance, and the camera follows. This is a reality show so there are no dialogues. The camera follows me, that's all.
What is your success rate?
If I was God, daily I could have matched three successful couples. Daily three, or more. But I'm not God. When the stars are aligned, that is the story. This is all destiny, nothing is in my hands. If the destiny is there, if the couple is aligned together, then it happens. But my way is just to show them the biodata and to match them, that's all. In India, they say birth, marriage and death — these three things are not in our hands. These three things God has taken (and) a human being cannot do anything.
In Season One of "Indian Matchmaking," you didn't have any successful matches. Knowing that, why did you return for Season Two?
I’m very happy to answer this. In Season One, (it was about) matchmaking. They wanted to show the process of Indian matchmaking to the world. They didn't tell that this person is going to get married or (not). In five months of shooting, do you expect the person to get married? We shot only for five months.
It is not magic; it's not a magic wand. We have showed that this is the process of matchmaking. In real life, I work for two years for one client and still they’re not getting married. Why? Everything is destiny. How can I expect it five months you want a success story in Season One? How can we expect that? Netflix has showed what is Indian matchmaking, that's all. This is the traditional values of Sima Taparia they have portrayed in the show.