Netflix’s Cringefest Indian Matchmaking Says A Lot About Indian Collectivism
Note: I’ve only seen the first episode yet, and I don’t think I am going to be able to go back to it, we’ll see.
Right out the gate, the first thing I notice is how most candidates come off as 10-year-olds completely replaying their parental scripts about life. Super successful Indians in their late 20s and 30s and make every decision with mommy sitting next to them. The absolute cringe of that never went away for the rest of the episode.
Growing up in India I have seen this movie many times, couples dating for 5+ years with promises of marriage and then parents on one side of the equation just “veto” it and just like the crowd on the show everyone goes “yes
mam mom!”. Although an important factor back home in India is most young adults in the late 20s and even up tot 40s are pretty much broke, so maybe that plays a huge never-really-discussed part in their obedience. However, watching these spineless well to do desis on the show though, one wonders if desis are genetically incapable of standing up to their parents.
The attachment to their parents is second only to their longing for their ancestors and heritage. While a lot can be said about one’s yearning to figure out their “roots”, the second wave of cringe washed over me when the people who grew up in America began telling us how they “do well with Indians”, the one chick Nadia was almost yearning Devdas-Paro-style keeping the flame alive for her guaya-WTF-nise prince, how lit was she when told the matchmaking witch finally found her one! Then to think they couldn’t speak more than 50 proper words — what a great dose of reality check that date was for everyone, you don’t get along because of your “roots”, you need a consciously chosen identity, the founding principles of America — individualism.
Note how none of them started a single sentence with “I’m an American”, it’s bad enough that Indians there refer to themselves as Indian-American instead of American-Indians, considering the previously mentioned fact that most Indians are broke well into their late 40s, one wonders if you would have some more respect for the place which saved you from that life. Instead, I recollect, one or two of them refer to it as “I do have an American passport, I’m a citizen”, which is another layer peeled off, demonstrating how Indians as a whole have a very hard time shedding their collectivistic identity and assimilate into the host culture, probably another subtle reminder of how multiculturalism is a failed ideal unless every single person chooses to start as a blank slate and is committed to being an individual first.
And a final note on why are parents even a part of the equation how who the kids marry unless the kids HAVE ALREADY DECIDED to get married? It’s horrible enough that even today in India we have people doing it the 18th-century style in which you meet or even LOOK at your chosen beloved on THE D-DAY. So is it too much to ask educated folks to date and consciously choose the wifey and make the marriage decision FIRST and THEN meet the parents? Because if the boomer parents decide to veto your choice then you need to stand up with a straight spine and do it anyway..
Another example of how our notion that education, life experiences, and “tRaVeliNg” “broaden your horizons” doesn’t really stand the test of reality unless there is a deep cultural shift, I mean with this f*ing crowd even that didn’t work, they grew up in America and are educated and successful and yet here they are going picking grooms from photographs with mom!
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