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Mind: the brain’s leaky organ

Frederick L. Coolidge
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awu151 2396-2398 First published online: 25 June 2014

What were you doing the afternoon of 15 January 2014? Chances are, unless it was highly meaningful, you probably do not remember. Memories are made and recalled because of their emotional valence. On 15 January 2014, I was serving as a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN). It was the final day of the annual kite flying festival of the city of Ahmedabad, the temporary home of IITGN. That afternoon, I had returned to the campus, and there was a beautiful sky collage of kites in a myriad of colours: India’s flag (green, white, and saffron), chrome, all of the primaries and pastels. It was a mildly warm day, and I had previously flown a few kites (Miami, Florida) in my time, so I sought the shade of a plumeria tree (frangipani, we called it in Miami) while watching the campus crowd. College students, faculty, staff, and many children were all joyfully flying kites. The colourful flock of kites swirled above us in the air. Some higher and some lower: some kites dangling close to the trees and some so high they could barely be perceived. But I did not enjoy the shade of the plumeria alone: the wife of a senior administrator of IITGN also sought refuge in the shade. I watched as the crowd, as equally colourful as the kites, blended and danced amongst each other, flying their kites. As we watched the kites and their participants, an older august Indian gentleman left the fray to join his wife, standing with me under the plumeria tree. ‘Did you see,’ he said excitedly to his wife, ‘I had the highest kite in the sky!’

Later, as I drove my Indian bicycle home from the campus, the two, way too short, kilometres, again I was …

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