It is a fact universally acknowledged that every romance reality show needs a villain. In Indian matchmaking — the Netflix show that premiered in 2020 featuring matchmaker Sima Taparia on a mission to find Singleton on her happily ever after — came on as Aparna Shevkramani.
The 34-year-old lawyer from Houston, Texas was portrayed as an attractive woman whose first dates didn’t turn into relationships, with Taparia often placing the blame entirely on her behavior and expectations. Shevkarmani was the breakout star of the show, but was clever at the same time.
In a new book, Shevakarmani brings out his side of the story and the way he was maligned. She’s Unlikeable and Other Lies That Bring Women Down (HarperCollins, Rs.399) is a defense of women who aren’t afraid to speak their mind and voice their expectations.
It is also a personal story of survival. Shevkarmani, who moved to New York after the show and started a luxury travel company, talks about the need for responsible TV viewers and the desire to find a partner.
It is common to assume that parts, if not all, of reality shows are staged. Your account is interesting because your role was not so much staged as it was edited to suit a narrative. since Indian match upYou’ve reached people who were in similar positions, like Jessica Batten of (reality show) love is blind, How has your view of reality shows and so called villains changed in these romance reality shows?
In the book, I discuss how shows are edited from the extensive raw footage taken. I hope people move towards consuming media more responsibly. Of course we should enjoy it for entertainment purpose but we should not take it as absolute truth in any way. I am more mindful of myself as a viewer and understand that no “character” in a reality show is as good or bad as their editing might suggest.
According to your account, there was a huge difference between what you thought Indian matchmaking And how did it eventually turn out? Could you elaborate on this?
Although I had no idea what the show would actually look like, I have no regrets living a small part of my love journey on international TV. So many people ask me if I will be participating in season 2 or any other show and I will say… Women around the world shared that they were empowered by my story and I believe this is a story that should continue to be shared.
The online hate you received for your role was alarming, especially when an onlooker followed you or someone sent you a picture of yourself with a gun. We know that there is a strong link between misogyny and violence against women. Did you expect this response and how did you manage it?
While I didn’t expect it, Indian matchmaking And the outcome made me even more determined to live life on my own terms and not succumb to the whims of arbitrary social milestones. I realized with all the cyberbullying and even death threats that there will always be people who don’t like you and don’t approve of your lifestyle and your decisions. And it’s not your issue. All you have to do is live a life that is in line with your values and beliefs every day.
You remained friends with some of the men you met on the show and created a WhatsApp group called ‘Aparna’s friends’. Do you think if it wasn’t for the show, it could have clicked with any one of them?
I am sure you can meet your soul mate anywhere – from wedding to grocery store! The way I met these people was not the issue. We just weren’t a good match. So no, I don’t think there can be anything other than friendship with these people, regardless of the circumstances in which I met them.
As a financially independent, ambitious, well-travelled lawyer and now entrepreneur, do you ever feel like there are options other than Marriage for you?
I am so grateful to be surrounded by a community of family and friends who share the same core principles as mine – after all, a partnership can enhance your life but it is not necessary for happiness. I continue to seek a partner who will lead the cheer as I lead him in all aspects of our lives.