EXPANDING THE MIND
Slowly and almost unwillingly Beng recovered from his reverie. He reread Wordsworth's poem and tried to capture the powerful overflow of intense emotion recollected in tranquility. But Beng was not satisfied with just enjoying the poem himself. He wanted to discuss it with his friends, to hear their interpretation, to see if there were other and deeper meanings and feelings in the poem.
Most of all he wanted to share his joy and poetic appreciation with others. After all, Beng thought, this was what university life should be.
He asked Rajoo, a top student in his literature class, to join his group discussion.
"But this poem is not included in our exam!" Rajoo protested in surprise.
"But I'm sure this Ode to Immortality will broaden our outlook and enhance our emotion."
"Sure it does," Rajoo conceded, "but I'll join you only after my assignments."
Next, Beng approached Alice, another top student. He was confident that Alice would welcome his initiative, as she was not only his girlfriend but also an ardent Wordsworthian.
"But the lecturer has explained the poem so well in class. What else to discuss?"
"Oh, many things. For example, have your ever found splendour in the grass?"
Alice smiled. "Why don't you find splendour in my hair instead!"
Beng was not to be put off so easily. He asked many other friends. But none except Uncle Ramli was interested. Uncle Ramli was about forty years old, almost twice Beng's age. He was a teacher on study leave to complete an education which he would have completed twenty years ago if not for lack of money then.
"I greatly admire your idealism," Uncle Ramli said. "You are one of the freaks who still believe in a university education that widens one's horizon and develops ones faculties to meet any intellectual challenges."
"Don't you believe too, Uncle Ramli?"
"I do! Of course, I do. That's why I'm interested in your discussion. But idealistic or not, you're still one of the best students. This year's Literature Prize will see a good fight among you, Alice and Rajoo."
"Believe me, Uncle Ramli, what I consider more important is to find something meaningful in life."
Then it dawned upon Beng that perhaps he should try finding the glory in Alice' eyes, and the splendour in Alice' hair.