A father’s support can shape and change the trajectory of one’s entire life. That’s exactly what Nishant Jain’s life is a testimony to.

A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Nishant recalls that a single move by his father in 2004 changed his life — pulling him out of JEE coaching.

In Class 11 then, Nishant tried to get into a Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) coaching institute. JEE is regarded as the premier engineering entrance examination in India.

Nishant went to the institute to pay the fees with his father. “It was only when we reached the institute did my father start asking them about the course and what it would entail,” he says.

They were told that he would have to give up two years of his life and spend it on preparing for JEE. No “other distractions or time for anything else”, the counsellor said.

This was the same time when father and son had started playing badminton together. His father decided against enrolling Nishant in the institute.

His father told him in no uncertain terms that he need not pursue this at the cost of everything else. “That instance could very well be described as the turning point in my life,” he says.

Nishant did go on to study engineering, but he also spent his Class 11 and 12 reading, maintaining a blog, playing sports, and enjoying his free time. He says his father taught him “to not sacrifice myself for what everyone is doing”.

Nishant attributes a lot of what he has become today to those two years. The blog that he started in Class 11 transformed into a web comic, which today is the website The Sneaky Artist.

He went on to do a Masters in Biomechanical Engineering, start his PhD, and then quit that to become a full time writer/sketch artist.

“Even during that moment, my parents stood by me. Having them on my side was such a huge boon.”

He is today an artist, writer and podcaster with several hundred sketches to his credit, all thanks to his father.

“Whatever I have learnt is from watching my father. He believed in walking the talk. He prioritised his family over making more money. He taught me to derive happiness from being good at my work.”