Traditional matchmaking fraught with prejudice: Kaur

New Delhi: Rupam Kaur, an Indian-American physician, the pursuit of finding love a second time took more than the traditional formula of meeting with suitors via a matchmaker. Having found her partner on the dating app Bumble after a divorce, Kaur says that the “traditional concept of arranged matchmaking holds a lot of prejudiced and preconceived notions”.

Kaur, who incidentally has featured on the popular Netflix show ‘Indian Matchmaking’, believes that sometimes one needs to “self-arrange” a match, taking both control of your own destiny and finding someone on your own terms.

Excerpts from an interview with Rupam Kaur:

As an Indian-American, the concept of marriage, specifically traditional matchmaking, must have been part of your childhood? Did it impact your worldview about marriage at all?

Kaur: As an Indian child albeit Indian-American, marriage was always stressed as a life goal and given utmost importance. We weren’t allowed to talk to boys and definitely not date! Yet somehow we were supposed to be married by a certain age. I bought into this belief when I was younger and got married at a relatively young age for American standards, but after going through a divorce and becoming a single mother, I realised that matchmakers with traditional beliefs were limiting my options of finding a partner. I decided to shed these beliefs. I had hope that there was someone for me who was progressive minded and wouldn’t judge my past life. I just had to navigate myself through it. For me, downloading and using Bumble was a great decision, it gave me a chance to take control of my destiny and find someone on my own terms.

What attitudes do you see across the Indian diaspora/communities about dating apps? Are they warming up to dating and dating apps?

Kaur: Indian communities, especially the younger generations- Gen Z and Millennials – are more open to the concept of dating apps and finding love in a non-traditional way, although the pressures to marry remain. Currently, with the global pandemic, virtual dating too has gained momentum as individuals are looking to build meaningful relationships while staying indoors.

I found Nitin, my fiance using Bumble filters like Education and Religion as I was looking for a meaningful long-term relationship and was keen to find a like-minded partner. This narrowed down my search and directed me to the profiles with similar interests. Just like me, people have warmed up to finding love and long-standing relationships on dating apps.

What was your family’s reaction to you finding a match on Bumble?

Kaur: I was introduced to Bumble by a friend two years ago when I was ready to give myself a chance to fall in love again. It took me quite some time and many first dates to find the right one, but this never demotivated me as I didn’t lose hope. When my family got to know that I found my “forever” on Bumble – my mom exclaimed, “divine happenings do happen on Bumble!” I think she’s right! My daughter’s reaction was pure excitement when she got to know about the proposal, and she started screaming, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” They and I couldn’t have been happier!

About your wedding and all that we didn’t see on screen..

Kaur: There was a lot which went on off-screen! I was travelling to New York when I matched with Nitin. My first date with my fiance was an amazing 24-hour date – we spent the whole day together starting with brunch and hiking and finishing up with dinner at a steakhouse. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever had. As I was dating him, it was always important to me that my partner respected my past, accepted me as a mother and shared the same life values as me. We got engaged during the pandemic and were married in a small, socially-distanced ceremony with a tight group of family and friends. They say love will find a way – and trust me it does. Falling in love is such a wonderful feeling and there is no reason for it to turn into a contest.

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