This is one story that I have told so many people ever since I came to the Netherlands and probably one of the incredible stories (slightly atleast) that I actually can say. So, after working my ass off on my Master's project I was finally rewarded with a paper in an IEEE MEMS conference. Both to my and my supervisor's delight and horror, even though we were happy that my paper got selected no body expected that I would also be invited to present it! The horror part being so because this was a single session conference and I would have to present in front of about 1000 people,the best in the field and I had no prior experience!!
I have never put in so much preparation into a presentation before. In the end, it did go on without me making a fool of myself and the cool part was that I was among the 3-4 female presenters at the conference, so I got a lot of attention!! :D. I was approached by a Dutch professor and he talked to me for quite some time. He later on told me how he was married to a south Indian woman who had the same name as mine and how he was surprised and had decided to talk to me!! (ya! so much for my presentation being good!). He gave me his card and said if I ever wanted to pursue further studies I should consider the Netherlands as a lot of work was being done especially in MEMS(rrright! there was no way I was studying further!). I dumped his card into my drawer and soon forgot about it.
But as it turned out, I din't find any job before graduation and so decided to mail all the contacts that I had made to look for alternate options. The Dutch professor promptly replied and gave me a lot of information about the program here at TU/e, then I applied to it and found the program structure to be really unique and decided to move to the Netherlands. My 'last resort' idea was finally what I decided to pursue. :)
And yesterday, after 1 and 1/2 years, I met the professor again at TU/e (he works elsewhere). It was an amazing feeling for me. It still sounds so weird that just my name in some sense decided my fate ( for at least 2 years). I doubt he would have come and talked to me if I was called differently and how the single conference actually changed the course of my life.To think that I actually hated my name! Who would have thought that of all the people in the world, a Dutch man would associate it with something!!!
Moral of Story - Be proud of long and weird names and attend conferences! :)