“This has been here since I was a boy,” my father said happily, patting its trunk like the back of an old friend. “Isn’t it a beauty?”
It was a banyan—elegant and intricate, India’s national tree. Like Spanish moss, it germinates in the crevices of other trees and grows without need of soil. It can wrap itself so completely around its host that its limbs become indistinguishable from the tree underneath.…I watched my father taking in the tree’s splay of branches, considering the parallels between banyans and rootless people—our people—and whether our roots were more like those of the tree hidden underneath.