Chicago lawyer Shekar Jayaraman and New Jersey event planner Nadia Jagessar toured Chicago by boat and had a picnic on the lakefront in the fall. Their date was unusual because cameras were on hand for Netflix’s new hit show “Indian Matchmaking” — and so was Jagessar’s mom.
“At first, I was really, really nervous about it,” Jayaraman told the Tribune by phone. “It was definitely nerve-racking.”
The eight-episode series, which premiered July 16, follows Mumbai matchmaker Sima Taparia as she pairs singles based on their interests, resumes, astrological readings and input from their families. Jayaraman, 34, was set up with Jagessar, 32, and Houston attorney Aparna Shewakramani, 35. (Some “Indian Matchmaking” spoilers ahead.)
Jayaraman, a Cincinnati native who has his own Chicago-area law firm, met Shewakramani at a Houston restaurant on the third episode. The vibe seemed off from the start. A conversation about world travels awkwardly turned to sex tourism. Though they are both lawyers, Shewakramani said she doesn’t enjoy the profession. She also doesn’t like Chicago. They mentioned their differences in separate interviews for the show, but Jayaraman said he has since forged a friendship with Shewakramani.
“We help each other navigate this new life where we’re kind of responding to people, getting a little bit more traction on Instagram and various social outlets,” Jayaraman said. “She’s been very helpful. We talk quite a bit.”
His Chicago date with Jagessar on the fourth episode seemed more promising. She said she was “a little smitten kitten” and praised Jayaraman’s looks, attire, humility and modesty. She was also pleasantly surprised that he expressed interest in visiting Guyana, which is where her family is from. But the dynamic changed once the cameras were gone, Jagessar told reporters and Jayaraman confirmed to the Tribune.
“We just had very fundamentally different outlooks on dating, and we had very different world views. The stars were not aligned,” Jayaraman said, adding that the pair reached this decision a few weeks after the Chicago date.
“Indian Matchmaking” features testimonials from several couples who said they are in arranged marriages. Jayaraman is single and said he is open to an arranged relationship as well as “regular dating.” He would participate in this type of show again too. “It was not a bad experience.”