New Delhi: Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have come across the name Sima Taparia quite frequently on social media in the past few days. The 57-year-old professional matchmaker has become a hot topic of discussion across the nation ever since the docu-reality series ‘Indian Matchmaking’ first aired on Netflix. Also Read - Sima Taparia From Mumbai: Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking Memes That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

Playing the host on the controversial show, she has become the talk of the town, invariably becoming the fodder for memes as many relate to her as the ‘next-door auntie’. The show has been at receiving end of criticism especially by millennials for endorsing casteism, colourism, and classism and perpetuating regressive ideas. However, unfazed by all this, Sima has witnessed a boom in business.

Who is she?

Sima Taparia is a marriage consultant living in Mumbai who helps singles from India and America to meet their perfect match. Originally hailing from Karnataka’s Gulbarga, Sima too had an arranged marriage to Mumbai-based industrialist Anup Taparia at the age of only 19 and is married to him 35 years now.

In an interview to Conde Nast Traveller, Sima says, “My in-laws were from an orthodox family of Marwaris and so I never really had the chance to work on my dreams.”

However, she always harboured great ambition and wanted to make something of herself so that people would know her name. Initially, she began setting high-profile Indian couples up for marriage as a hobby, but when she started becoming popular, she took it up professionally.

Her burgeoning business

Taparia started her own matchmaking business called, ‘Suitable Rishta’ in Mumbai which initially only catered to Marwari families but later expanded to all castes, bringing her global success. She offers services to Indians in countries like the United States, the UK, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, and Nigeria.

Calling herself a natural-born matchmaker, she says, “I am an extrovert and so I am very social and I love meeting new people, talking to them and finding out little details that I lock away in my brain,”

She further claims Tinder, Bumble and Shaadi.com can’t compete with her as she gets to the bottom of things when trying to find a match. Before setting up a meeting, she visits both the parties, finds out all the inside stories, the family’s values and other significant details which can’t be assessed at a person’s online profile. She adds this exercise helps her assess their lifestyles to recommend a match.

As per a Republic report, Sima Taparia’s services reportedly cost somewhere between Rs 1.5 Lakh to Rs 4 Lakhs, on an average.

“In India, I’m matching for 135 families,” she tells potentially interested parents, looking for a good match for their sons or daughters. Before featuring on Indian Matchmaking, Taparia was also a part of the documentary A Suitable Girl, where she tried finding her daughter a husband.

Her response to criticism of the show

When she was asked about the controversy the show has generated, she unapologetically told Conde Nest Traveller, “But who doesn’t want a fair, beautiful wife, you tell me?”

Claiming how things have changed in the recent past, she says that now the matchmaking process which traditionally focused on the groom also takes into account the demands of women.

“Women are educated and empowered so why shouldn’t they have as much of a say in who they marry. So many of the women I have been trying to match up have rejected the matches I presented them with because they don’t want to settle either,” she says.