For hundreds of thousands of years, human beings sat around camp fires while the old told of legends from their ancient past. All our ancient epics grew out of these legends, part history retold, part dreamtime. Can the Angel Gabriel, to whose activities we owe so much, appear again to comfort a Muslim boy? Why shouldn’t that happen? If the universe permits time-travel, can an Indian find his long lost daughter through a wormhole? Will Mulla Naseeruddin help solve an old mathematical puzzle? Could an English memsahib, shipped to India to marry a colourless officer, find love in the arms of a rebel Indian during the momentous days of the Sepoy Mutiny? Would a Prince wish to escape the trammels of pomp and circumstance to find peace in an ordinary life? Why are there no legends about the discovery of numbers? Did a Hindu tribesman, marching in through the Kyber Pass, thousands of years ago, encounter an earlier settler, in peace or in war? The great epic of the Mahabharata is full of many legends, some shrouded in inexplicable mystery. How did a warlike patriarchal society accept that the great Queen Draupadi could marry five husbands? Can an ancient Buddhist king teach us anything about politics? And we do believe animals can talk, don’t we? When I came out of my dreamtime, I wrote down the stories for you, for dreams are the metaphors of our inner life.
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