We can’t stop talking about Indian Matchmaking, a Netflix original docu series that follows renowned Indian matchmaker Sima Taparia on her quest to find lifelong partners for clients in India and America. Not only does Indian Matchmaking clear up the common misconceptions about arranged marriage, but it also highlights South Asian culture in a vibrant, refreshing and sometimes humorous point of view. If you’ve already binge-watched the entire show, don’t worry. Here are 10 books that will be your perfect match if you loved Indian Matchmaking.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
In Indian Matchmaking, Sima explained that Indian marriage is not just the union of a couple, but the union of their families as well. New York Times’ Bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi is a charming young adult romance novel that follows recent high school graduates Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel. The two are to meet in a summer program for web developing, a ploy by the families to secure a marriage arrangement. What Dimple and Rishi aren’t prepared for is their completely contrasting personalities that begin to spark a complex teenage romance.
The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli
While clients line up for Sima’s services, some people want nothing to do with marriage. Sonya Lalli writes a modern-day matchmaking tale about the unmarried Raina Anand and her surrender to let her grandmother find matches for her. In this heartwarming and hilarious novel, Raina faces an endless amount of bad dates and is brewing up a plan to appease her grandmother without ending up in an arranged marriage she is pressured to be in.
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
A unique take on a classic romance novel, Ayesha at Last is the Muslim Pride and Prejudice that takes place in modern times. Ayesha Shamsi dismisses the idea of an arranged marriage, while her cousin, Hafsa has turned down nearly 100 marriage proposals. The dynamic changes, however, as Ayesha finds her Mr. Darcy, Khalid, who she falls in love with despite him being quite the nuisance. After Khalid and Hafsa announce a surprise engagement much to Ayesha’s dismay, Ayesha must decide whether she should share her feelings or expose the unsavory gossip surrounding Khalid’s family.
Maximum City by Suketu Mehta
Indian Matchmaking partially takes place in the city of Mumbai, where Sima Aunty does most of her work. Maximum City is an ode to this lively, culture-filled city from Suketu Mehta’s perspective as a local. Mehta transports us into an energetic metropolis exploring crime, Bollywood and poverty all from an insightful, funny and heart-filled point of view.
The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya
One of Sima’s clients, Nadia Jagessar, lists in her criteria that she would like a Guyanese man. Throughout the show, Nadia shares her experiences being part of the Guyanese culture while having Indian ancestry and the complications it causes in her search for an arranged spouse. The Sly Company of People Who Care follows a twenty-six-year-old recently unemployed journalist who leaves his home in Bombay and makes a new one in Guayana. Bhattacharya narrates the story of a man searching for identity and adventure, all while encapsulating the rich history of Guyana.
The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar
Although it is not addressed in Indian Matchmaking, LGBTQ Indians tend to experience societal and familial pressures to marry people who they are not attracted to. The Paths of Marriage explores this theme, in a multi-generational story of a family thwarted by tensions over unwanted arranged marriage and the pressure of arranged marriage placed on Deepa, who has not yet come out as a lesbian to her conservative family.
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
A Bollywood Affair shows the contrast between arranged marriage and the naturality of love in this thoughtful Indian romance novel. Mili Rathod has been married to her arranged husband for twenty years, and she has not seen him since the arrangement was first made when she was four. In preparation to be a good wife, she’s had the opportunity to leave her oppressive village and study in America. Her impatience grows until she meets famous Bollywood director Samir Rathod, sent to Mili by his brother to get her to sign divorce papers. Samir, who is used to getting what he wants, is shocked by Mili’s stubborn refusal to sign the papers and soon finds himself caught up in her life, and in love with his brother’s wife.
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama
Like matchmaker Sima, Mr. Ali starts his own matchmaking business and is faced with mystery, challenges and exciting experiences. All while this is going on, his assistant, Aruna is dealing with her own fears of never finding the perfect match. Fate has plans for her, however, and love is an interesting part of life, all depicted in The Marriage Bureau for Rich People.
Arranged Marriage: Stories by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
In a more historical perspective of arranged marriage, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni shares a collection of stories about tradition and rebellion, from Indian-born to Indian-American women. Arranged Marriage: Stories provides the more dated experiences of arranged marriage and the stories of women before it was modernized.
The Wedding Tamasha by Sudha Nair
Sometimes not all arranged marriages work out. Shweta Menon has fled from her abusive arranged partner to America and has no idea how to break the news to her family, who is still in India. Forced back to her homeland to attend her brother’s wedding, Shweta encounters her brother’s best friend, Niru who is catering the wedding and had a crush on Shweta when they were children. Although Shweta barely even knew Niru as anything more than her brother’s best friend, she begins to fall for him and complications ensue in this whirlwind romance that tackles family dynamics.
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