If you’ve been on the Internet lately, you’d likely have heard of Netflix‘s popular and controversial series, Indian Matchmaking. Perhaps you’ve even binge-watched the series yourself. Whether you like it or not, as with much of reality TV goes, it’s better to take the show with a pinch of salt. However, making matches for people is a reality for a handful of people, and some even do it for a living with their fair share of stories. In fact, that’s what Anisa Hassan has spent nearly two decades doing at her company, Date High Flyers.
Her track record includes successfully aiding more than 500 CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and bankers to find happy marriages. And she promises that as “Asia’s ultimate matchmaker to millionaires”, she can find your marrying mate from her personal black book.
But as you can imagine, matching high-flying and high net worth individuals does come with its sets of unique challenges, as seen on Indian Matchmaking.
While there are certainly cultural differences in how the process is done, at the heart of it, it’s all about helping successful professionals work through what they are looking for and finding someone that they can spend the rest of their lives with.
Matchmaking is for those committed to finding a life partner
If you’re only looking to be set up for a date though, the services that Anisa provides might not be the right one. She only works with those who are committed to marriage and finding a life partner, not unlike Sima Taparia in the series.
The difference though is that while you see whole families get involved in the matchmaking process from the start in the TV series, for Anisa, the request from parents to get a match for their child has happened, but not more than a handful of times. The families do sometimes get involved later, though.
“For some of my young Asian clients, a discussion is also done with their parents who help guide their children through the matchmaking process.”
The first meeting, at least on TV, shows Sima going to a client’s home, asking questions about the client and what they are looking for, as well as exploring every inch in finding out more about them.
Getting to know the client is something that Anisa does as well, and it’s an important part of the process for her. But that’s as far as the similarities go. There’s no meeting clients at their house, and invading their personal space.
Instead, Anisa usually spends time speaking to them in person at a cafe, hotel lobby or other public areas. And during this conversation, which lasts an hour or two, “it’s about understanding them and their needs”, she shares, adding: “It’s important for clients to resonate with you.” Of course, during this period of Covid-19, this has changed to online video calls.
Just like how some of the clients featured on the show have a laundry list of requirements, Anisa too has similar clients.
“I had a client who specifically wanted to be matched with a Filipino Chinese lady who was Western-educated and who’d be open to being in business with him in the future,” she chortled.
But in the same way that Sima eventually got through to 35-year-old lawyer Aparna Shewakramani in being more open to potential partners, Anisa does the same with her clients.
And how she does this, is through establishing trust. “They must trust me for the process to be smooth,” she shared. She also encourages clients to be an open book with her. “The more I know about them, the better of a match I can make.”
For clients that come with a long list of wants, what Anisa does, is “to work together to prioritise what truly matters”. Even though this might involve compromises and adjustments, eventually clients do open themselves to other possibilities.
“When I get my clients to place their attention on values and qualities that would seal the deal, issues relating to familiar lifestyle and experiences drop lower on the priority scale,” she shared.
As for the very specific client, he eventually consented to meet Western-educated Chinese ladies and eventually became fond of one of them.
No astrology, face readers or life coaches involved in the matchmaking process
While Sima is seen consulting horoscopes and those with divine powers, Anisa rarely does this. Neither does she have a life coach on hand that she refers her clients to.
Instead, Anisa shares that most of her clients “know how to behave” given their position in life, though she does personally work with them to “help them overcome their past programming about relationships and love”.
She also doesn’t subscribe to Sima’s practice of giving a list of candidates for her clients to sieve through and pick from, like what is shown on TV. Instead, she only presents one potential match each time to her clients.
“If a profile is turned down, we will discuss in detail before I make the next recommendation.”
How does she find suitable matches for her clients? Thanks to years of experience, she, like Sima, has a list of profiles. But whilst Sima’s looks like a pen and paper affair, she has a more sophisticated computerised system.
If there’s no one suitable in her bank of contacts, she taps on her personal networks to headhunt for suitable matches for her clients.
Love during circuit breaker
While most of her clientele are based in Singapore (she has no more than 50 at any one point of time that she personally attends to), she does get clients from overseas and would fly to meet with them before the restrictions on travel were implemented.
However, the circuit breaker didn’t stop her from being able to do her magic, with one couple whom she matched during that period now on the way to the altar.
Though the age gap was big (the man is in his 60s, and the woman in her 40s), she convinced the pair to start speaking over video calls and text messages.
Having a face-to-face meeting was initially met with some hesitation by both parties during phase 2, but they hit it off. And when speaking to us, Anisa shared that the guy had proposed to the lady already and was going to meet her parents that very weekend.
These are the success stories that keep Anisa motivated to continue with what she does.
And the universal truth that she tells all her clients? “When they get their inner life together, their outer life will follow.”
Text: Seow Kai Lun/AsiaOne
Photo: Anisa Hassan & Netflix