by Jasbina Ahluwalia
Indian American Matchmaker
One thing is clear from the diversity of reactions to the Netflix’s ‘Indian Matchmaking’ show – South Asians are not monolithic.
Vision of partnership – reflecting temperament, values and mindset – can vary considerably even among sibling, warranting different approaches to finding a life partner.
To keep perspective, ‘Indian Matchmaking’ spotlighted traditional South Asian matrimonial practices in action, revealing:
- Cultural norms which play into those practices;
- How those cultural norms can make the traditional matrimonial process more, or less, challenging for different people; and
- How those cultural norms can make the traditional matrimonial process more, or less, appealing for different people
What can a South Asian single do given what was revealed?
Empowerment is the mantra in my matchmaking work when it comes to choosing a life partner, including the timing of when to do so.
The price of empowerment is personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility entails making choices in line with one’s values and vision for partnership, and removing any internal or external blocks standing in the way.
While our approaches differ, we echo the aspiration Auntie Sima articulates in Episode 8 – we both strive to help people create the best lives for themselves.
How do our approaches differ? Now that I’ve seen the traditional matchmaking process unfold on the show, I’ll defer to a former client’s words describing one of the non-traditional components of our process:
“When I first started working with Jasbina I had practically no dating experience. I used to think that finding a life partner is something that would just happen. However, turning 30, I was starting to feel the pressure – from my family and from myself. I decided that I would start dating with the hope of eventually finding a life partner. In my initial consultation with Jasbina I found her questions to be thorough and detailed, leading me to think about myself in ways I had not thought of before. During the period of introductions, online dating, and ‘getting myself out there’, my monthly dating coaching calls with Jasbina kept me sane.
“After a year of working with Jasbina, she introduced me to the man who is now my husband. My husband makes me immensely happy, and completes me in so many ways. Each day I am so grateful to have him in my life.”
Anecdotally, I came to learn that the above client’s family had simultaneously retained the services of an elite India-based matchmaker in our network – after receiving a call from that matchmaker seeking matches for our mutual client.
My favorite aspect of watching ‘Indian Matchmaking’ on Netflix was identifying the countless coaching opportunities revealed by what Akshay, Ankita, Aparna, Nadia, Pradhyuman, and Vyasar said. Coaching devoid of loved ones’ anxieties can be priceless for South Asians.
I encourage readers to dialogue with their loved ones about life partner search approaches which resonate – at times more than one approach may appeal.
Jasbina Ahluwalia is the Founder & President of Intersections Match by Jasbina, a firm for singles in the US, Canada and the UK. A finalist in Oprah’s search for a TV Host, she has moderated/participated in panels at Harvard Business School, Wharton, Northwestern & Columbia. Contact: www.intersectionsmatch.com