Interview: Aunty Sima of Indian Matchmaking on Love Advice, Dating Tips and Being Ship Captain of IT’S THE SHIP

Captain of Love Aunty Sima discusses steering relationships to success onboard famous party cruise IT’S THE SHIP. 
Aunty Sima Taparia Netflix Indian Matchmaking
Photo: Joel Lim/ZYRUPMAG

Aunty Sima, or Sima Taparia, is a household name in India and around the world as the bona fide star of the hit Netflix series Indian Matchmaking. A professional matchmaker based in Mumbai, she has helped countless singles find love and build lasting relationships. Now, she can add a new title to her resume – that of “ship captain” of IT’S THE SHIP. Sima’s stint as Captain follows that of past captains like superstars Tyson Beckford and David Hasselhoff. 

If you’re looking for a matchmaker who specializes in arranging marriages between Indian singles within their own cultural communities, Aunty Sima is your girl. Her services are highly sought-after by both parents and singles, and she works closely with families to ensure that both parties are comfortable with the match. Aunty Sima emphasizes the importance of communication and compromises in building a successful marriage. She’s the real deal, and her matchmaking game is on point.

One thing that sets Aunty Sima apart from the rest is her personalized approach to matchmaking. She’s all about getting to know her clients on a deep level, hearing what they want and what they absolutely can’t stand. Then, she goes out and uses her massive network of contacts to find the perfect matches. She’s got all the factors covered, from education and career to family background and personality, as well as values and beliefs. Aunty Sima knows what’s up, and she’s always on the lookout for that perfect match.

Ever since Indian Matchmaking was released on Netflix in 2020, Sima has gained immense popularity and has become a cultural icon. Her straightforward approach and genuine concern for her clients have won her millions of fans around the world. She has been highly praised for her ability to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity and for her unwavering commitment to helping people find love and happiness. Aunty Sima is breaking down cultural barriers and stereotypes, and her impact is felt far and wide.

At IT’S THE SHIP, lucky attendees had the chance to experience Aunty Sima’s matchmaking skills firsthand during a speed dating session on the cruise. This event was one of the many side activities that the festival offered. To help everyone get to know each other better, Aunty Sima provided prompt cards to prompt deeper conversations. These cards helped participants to connect on a more personal level, sharing their likes, dislikes, desires, and even music taste.

When not playing ship captain, or conducting a dating session, Sima took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with ZYRUP Magazine for an interview.

Aunty Sima Indian Matchmaking Netflix
Photo: Joel Lim/ZYRUPMAG

ZYRUPMAG: First things first: What made you say yes to doing this event with IT’S THE SHIP?
Sima Taparia: They had called me and I thought that it was a very nice option because the whole world loves me and so I thought [the festivalgoers] will enjoy it. For the matchmaking thing, I think somebody might click with someone else, so I agreed to it. 

You’ve been matchmaking for so long now. When you are now matchmaking for Gen Z and millennials, what are some of the considerations that you have?
Like I always tell people, when you meet, two people are not the same kind. Any two persons don’t fully match. Do your siblings, your brother and sister, match? No. Then how can the other boy or other girl match with you? So, I always tell them, if you get a 60%, 50% match, then okay. The rest you have to adjust and stay together. You have to be flexible. You have to compromise the situation and you have to appreciate each other’s qualities. Then you see that everything will be smooth and fine. 

What are some of the considerations when you look at a person’s biodata and say, “Ah, I think this one and this one may be a match.” What are some of the things you look out for?
I ask each and everybody about their criteria. Some people want studies, some people want looks. In India, horoscopes are the basic thing. People-matching is old school [in India]. Some people want 80% of the horoscope to match. They have to be from this family, looks should be good, or they should come from a very good university, Ivy League and all that. Many want height too. And then I look at the biodata and match them. 

Will people always be receptive to the suggestions that you have? Did you have any difficult clients?
Some. See, every personality is different from others. You are different from me and I am different from you. So, I have to balance every personality. I should have patience. Because everyone has a different thing, but I’m there to help them. So when they give the criteria, it is sometimes hard to help. They’re hoping and coming to me for some guidance and all. So I have to explain to them, and they understand. Many times, they understand, then other times they will be like, “No no, I want this, this, this.” And I have to work for them. 

A lot of the younger audiences wouldn’t have enough life experience or love experience. What would you say would be some of the wrong things to look out for in terms of expectations in finding love?
I always tell my clients to not have so many expectations because that is the main problem. They will never be happy after marriage. Also, if you have expectations with your partner, you will never be happy. So, have low expectations. When they come to me, I’ll tell them, “You see, all your hundred things, will not be fulfilled 100%. 60-70%, if it’s okay, then you can proceed.” So always, I tell them, have low expectations. You will be happy. 

For a lot of younger people, they may not be familiar with matchmaking and they also may have certain preconceived notions about matchmaking. What are some things that people may have misconceptions about that you want to clarify?
Many people have misconceptions about matchmaking. It is not like it’s forced. It’s not like, this is the biodata, you have to go and meet, you have to marry or you have to proceed. It’s not like this in matchmaking. You give your criteria, what you want. According to that, our work is to search and give the match to you. There is no forcing at all. 

Whether it’s being matchmade or meeting someone from the apps, I’m sure that people will get nervous for the first meeting. What do I do? What do I say? What are some of the tips that you can share for giving a good first impression?
Nowadays, I always tell them there’s no use to be nervous. Everybody is smart. They’re nervous because Everybody is smart and they’re focused and they have so much independence, they have so much exposure. Whenever you’re nervous, you come to me, I’ll help you. 

I always get so nervous!
But it’s okay. Always, I tell them in the first meeting, what are they going to talk about? Have two, three meetings, then [you’ll] open up and then [you’ll] feel a little free and all. So have two, three meetings. In the first meeting, many, many people don’t know what to discuss. Just discuss what are your studies, what are your hobbies, how old you are, and so on. 

For the younger generation, what would be some of the biggest deal breakers? What kind of reasons do they give most of the time?
Many times it is not working because they have high expectations. Whenever they meet, they say he or she is not of my type. So if the expectation is higher then things get flop. Go with a very cool mind, don’t have so much of expectations. Just meet and see the smartness, see the heart of the person. Beauty is only one-tenth of it. So you just see the heart, see her emotion, see her other thoughts and all. That will work in the future when you choose that type of person.

If I was a client struggling to find love, what advice you would give me?
I’ll tell you, don’t worry because this is all destiny. Whatever is written, the destiny that person will come in your life. That’s all I can tell you. Take Sima Aunty’s advice of 60 to 70%, that’s all. You will agree or else you will never find a partner. If you want 100%, you want everything, then you will never find it. 

Final question. The show Indian Matchmaking has been such a huge success. When you look back on everything, how do you feel?
The show is amazing. One of its kind. It was beyond my dreams. I never expected it. Frankly, I never expected anything from the show. I was just doing my work. I was passionate about my work. I was focused on my work. Then respect from the world and fame came. It was a byproduct. People loved my Indian values and the Indian values have made me a star. I’ve just portrayed that I am a typical Indian woman with traditional Indian values. 

Watch Indian Matchmaking on Netflix here. For more information on IT’S THE SHIP, visit here

This interview has been edited for brevity. Original interview by Joel Lim. Article written by Sng Sok Hing and Joel Lim.