How I travel… as a matchmaker
As a high-profile matchmaker, Sima Taparia doesn’t just connect couples in India – she travels all over the world helping singletons find their perfect partner. The Indian Matchmaking star talks to High Life about her love of travel and how bringing people together is her raison d’être
Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to see the world, but circumstances didn’t allow it for a long time. I grew up in a small city in South India called Gulbarga. It’s full of medical, engineering and law colleges and has a huge mosque dating back to 1367. I was born into an affluent family, lived in a huge house, and was the eldest of four sisters. My childhood with them was beautiful and loving.
My memories of travelling when I was young are of going to Hyderabad, a very big city about three hours’ away where relatives lived, or to my maternal uncle’s place in Pune, another large city, near Mumbai.
The first time I left India was when I was 35. I went to Paris and London with my husband, who needed to visit for work. These cities really made an impression. I was amazed by Paris, it was just so beautiful – the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower! I loved London, too, particularly Trafalgar Square and the Japanese chain Wagamama!
I didn’t start travelling for work until I became a matchmaker in 2005. Since then, I’ve been travelling a lot and consider myself a globetrotter – until 2020 I had around 120 boarding passes every year. I’ve travelled the whole world now, with the exception of four places: Iceland, South America, Japan and the Maldives (though I’m going to the Maldives on holiday soon, and headed to Japan for work later this year). I’ve visited some countries four or five times, though I travel within India the most.
God gave this gift to me and so I chose this profession. I match Indian couples all across the globe now and, for me, travelling for work and travelling for pleasure go hand in hand
Of everywhere I’ve been, Europe is my favourite place to go. I’ve visited many, many times. Switzerland in particular stands out. It has such natural beauty: the greenery, the beautiful lakes, the mountains and the waterfalls. Plus, the people there are so lovely. I’m so happy when I’m there.
From a young age I’ve had a unique ability to understand people’s personalities and their relationships with each other when I meet them. God gave this gift to me and so I chose this profession. I match Indian couples all across the globe now and, for me, travelling for work and travelling for pleasure go hand in hand.
The best thing about flying is that I get to meet people. Often in business class people are sleeping, but when they wake up I always say hello and have a chat with them. I’ve met many clients that way – particularly when flying to and from the US.
I’m very lucky I don’t get jet lag. When I’m in the air, I make sure I drink hot water and use the Indian breathing technique of Pranayama. Sometimes I meditate on the plane as well as sleep, but that’s all I do and then I’m fine when I land.
When I meet my clients, I ask what it is they want in a partner and they tell me their preferred qualities. I look for matches in my database, sometimes speak with a face reader I’ve known for ten years, who looks at photographs of potential matches and gives me his opinion. Then I arrange meetings for them, usually with their family present, and, if they like each other, they set up a date. Sometimes they are matched within a week, sometimes it can take years. It’s destiny.
The challenges of my job are universal. The people I meet around the world all have different personalities, and what I have to do is based on each individual, from country to country, place to place. In India, however, the thought process is different from in the US or UK. If I go to the US, for example, my clients there tend to be more accepting of things like their potential partner’s height being a little less than desired. That’s less common in India.
But wherever I’m going, and whoever I am meeting with, I do my work first. I make a list before I leave of who I have to meet. I arrive, I meet everyone and then I go shopping and see the historical and cultural sites. I plan my trip in such a way that all my wishes are fulfilled.
A love letter to community
Author Calum McSwiggan reveals how the LGBT+ community around the globe always makes him feel at home
More from Opinion
How I travel... as an actor
Star of Steve McQueen’s new film, Mangrove, Shaun Parkes shares his stories of adventures around the world from throughout his career
More from Opinion
A love letter to road trips
Explorer, actor, filmmaker and motorbike aficionado Charley Boorman waxes lyrical about his love of road trips
More from Inspiration