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There was a huge Banyan tree on the corner of the road that led to the village. It had stood there for years. The passers-by halted under the tree when they became tired. The tree happily gave them shelter, it gave the tree a sense of joy.

One day, the branches of the tree felt proud of themselves and said to its root, “We are so great. We, along with the leaves, give shade to the tired travelers and they thank us in return, Nobody even acknowledges or knows you.” The root replied, “You are forgetting something. I am your strength. You all would not survive without my support. I am the real life of this tree.”

“We agree that you provide us support,” said a branch, “but if we do not take in air and Sunlight with the help of the leaves, then we wouldn’t survive. What role do you play in this?”

The root replied, “Water is necessary for survival and I absorb water from the soil. The water reaches the leaves and the branches through capillary action. This water keeps you and the leaves alive.”

“Whatever it is, we are more important than you are,” said the branches.

The root raised an objection and said, “No, I am more important.”

Amidst this argument, suddenly the ground started trembling. The leaves and the branches started shivering. Clearly it was an earthquake. This was the time for the root to show its might. It fearlessly held on to the ground with a strong grip. The branches and the leaves got scared but the root said to them, “There is no need to worry. I am doing my work very well.”

The tremors vanished after sometime. Everything became peaceful again. The tree wasn’t harmed at all. With all the arrogance, the root said, “Be thankful to me. I saved you all from destruction.”

Before the branches could reply, a violent storm struck the place and winds started blowing fiercely. If the branches fell apart, then the tree would become useless. So it was the time for the branches to fulfill their duty.

The branches strengthened themselves and remained unaffected by the winds. The storm came under control in a few minutes and the tree was still standing intact. Now it was the time for the branches to praise themselves. They turned towards the root and said, “Had we fallen apart, the tree would have lost its value. So do you agree that we are more important?”

roots-and-branches

A squirrel that was sitting on the tree was listening to all the arguments between the branches and the root. The squirrel finally said, “The storm and the earthquake have made you realize that you both hold equal importance. Then what is the point of arguing now? Just fulfill your duties and work collectively to save the tree.”

The root and the branches understood each other’s importance and that they were wasting their precious time in arguing over a petty matter.

They smiled and said, “True, Miss Squirrel. You are absolutely right. Each one holds importance and can help others in need.”