After Life (1998) by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Check it out on Letterboxd Can there be a more difficult task than being asked to select a single memory from your life that you want to carry forever? As humans, we contain multitudes and we want to resist any attempt to put us into a box. But what happens if you’re asked to choose something which you’ll cherish for the rest of your life - would you let go of all the times when you were sad, angry, bitter, hypocrite and a bad human being?...

May 1, 2022 · 2 min · Siddhartha

Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl

Check it out on Goodreads One of the principal joys of reading is to discover the magic hidden in the seemingly banal things in life. I would’ve never cared to think twice about the intricacies of designing buildings and urban spaces, had it not been for this book. This serves as a gentle introduction to the fascinating study of how subtle differences in design of public spaces affect interactions on a much more broader scale....

April 21, 2022 · 1 min · Siddhartha

3 Iron (2004) by Kim Ki-duk

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Check it out on Letterboxd We are all empty houses, waiting for someone to open the lock and set us free. There’s something romantic about living on extremes. This applies as much to my film taste as it does to my day-to-day life. Nowhere is this more evident than in a crucial element of cinema - dialogues. On the one hand, you have Celine and Jesse showing us the entire world through their words, while on the other you have Sun and Tae doing the same thing without speaking a word....

November 14, 2021 · 1 min · Siddhartha

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer

Check it out on Goodreads Ethics is hard. If I’ve learnt something all these years, it is this universal maxim. Everybody wishes they’d make ethically sound choices in their lives, but more often than not, ethical choices are in contrast with cost and convenience. Nowhere is this more apparent than the way we consume food. There are a lot of similarities between food and religion. Both are deeply personal choices which are erroneously thought of as having a clear, set winning answer....

September 1, 2021 · 4 min · Siddhartha

Shame by Salman Rushdie

Check it out on Goodreads Now that I’ve moved away from reading fiction, I find that I face a lot of inertia to pick up something purely for pleasure. Maybe this is a nasty by-product of wanting to be as “productive” as possible. But the more I have drifted away from reading for pleasure, more mechanical the whole process has become for me. Partly to avoid this feeling, and partly because of my shame at seeing my bookshelf filled with dusty unread books, I picked up this one to assuage my feelings of guilt....

August 17, 2021 · 2 min · Siddhartha

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Check it out on Goodreads Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. I have no affinity for running, even for short jogs, and much less for wanting to run long distances. Although this is not because I hate exercises - one of those rare things that I figured out early in life was my desire to remain healthy as long as possible and that of course means I need to keep myself fit - but probably my distaste for running stems from the monotonous nature of the activity....

August 14, 2021 · 4 min · Siddhartha

Annihilation of Caste(Annotated Edition) by Arundhati Roy

Check it out on Goodreads I find India really fascinating sometimes, even though I’ve lived my whole life here. What the cultural multitudes and colorful festivals hide underneath is an ugly facade which threatens to break everything that has been built over the years. What I find most fascinating is how we’ve conditioned ourselves to ignore the blatant reality and move ahead with an oblivious calm, living in shit and aspiring for the gold....

July 23, 2021 · 3 min · Siddhartha

Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan

Check it out on Goodreads I have had a very curious relationship with religion, although now that I talk to others, it was a much more normal experience than what I led myself to believe. I followed the typical path of receiving a particular religion from my parents (born a “Hindu child”), which had a supporting role in my life up until my late-teenage/early-adolescent years. As is the norm for every child brought up in religion, I used to consider myself special believing that I had a “personal relationship” with God....

March 18, 2021 · 4 min · Siddhartha

Winter Sleep (2014) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Check it out on Letterboxd Over the years, I have increasingly gravitated towards films where supposedly “nothing happens”. Characters talk, no attempt is made to instill a moral point into the minds of the audience, which is usually accompanied with long, patient shots of people existing in their environments. This was an excellent specimen of the same dish. I had watched Once Upon a Time in Anatolia from the same director previously and much like films by Wes Anderson, I could immediately tell this was Ceylan’s film right from the start, although these two directors could not be any more different....

March 15, 2021 · 1 min · Siddhartha

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Check it out on Letterboxd A slow, methodical display of patience and absurdity juxtaposed on the vast landscape, this film has something else going for it. When you read the synopsis or look at the posters, you expect a certain police procedural drama - the kind of which you’ve been accustomed to till date. What you get is a completely different take on the trope....

February 7, 2021 · 1 min · Siddhartha