It was noon on Friday, September 6th, when the sixteenth INSEAD promotion received the first documents to prepare for the coming week.
In the days before, we listened to an incredibly arrogant World Bank boast and were warned by Deigan Morris that the success rate of students who attempt not to get the diploma is a steady one hundred percent. We had also been through a couple of other introductory sessions, all of which were quite suitable for generating apprehension about the workload to come and for stirring up a little uncertainty about one’s own capabilities and rank among this international collection of whiz-kids.
As a result, the brick of paper, easily equaling the weight of the Paris telephone book, was viewed with considerable curiosity and awe. Teddy Taptiklis also took a copy for George Stephanos Eapen, who had somehow managed to severely injure his foot and needed to spend a few days in hospital after surgery.
The next morning, no later than 11:00, Teddy and I went to pay George a friendly visit and were surprised when he wanted to discuss some topics buried deep in the heap of papers. “But, George, we only got it yesterday and haven’t even looked at it yet!” He seemed puzzled. “Welllll”, he uttered calmly in his deep voice and unmistakably melodic Indian English, “I didddn studdddy it, bud I read id ohhl!”
George Eapen had spent most of his teenage years in India reading TIME and NEWSWEEK excessively and therefore was thoroughly on top of almost everything: politics, economy, arts, sports, gossip, whatever. His mental presence and mastery of the English language was and still is, of course, intimidating and he had no anxiety about a workload purposely designed to push us normal students to our limits.