The Blumiers arrived at Sariska on a chilly mid-December evening. A small bus-load of team members, half a dozen portfolio founders and a couple of colleagues from our extended family, Constellation Blu. We gathered around the bonfire for the feast – the feast was just not a warm drink and homely food, but a feast of dialogue, ideas, and, of course, music.
Like many a Blume Day (our 7th one comes up this week) and many an annual offsite, this year’s offsite too would be iterative, another orbit of the virtuous cycle until we reach Exit Velocity. We discussed everything from wildlife spotting to startup stories. The night descended into further darkness. The bonfire revealed nothing but the warm yellow glow on Blumier faces and the bedecked Rajasthani winter sky. Some of us fired up our Night Sky and Star Walk apps and the names of the Constellations unfolded in 180 degree arcs in every direction of the horizon.
It provided the spark for the Blume Day message. After all, the core skill of most venture capitalists is to connect dots. The joy is, however, in discovering Constellations.
You may have heard the sports phrase “in a zone” – a player or team hits a surreal form and all patterns congregate. Constellations emerge from a splattering of stars. These stars are connected to the naked eye, but millions of light years apart in reality. Constellations are cosmic connects, much like many unexplained facets of our life.
The Big Bear would keep looming above us through the night, rotated a few degrees further everytime we spotted it. The Big Bear is also known as Ursa Major or the Big Dipper and in India, by the ancient name “Saptarishi”. It is undoubtedly the most popular 7-star constellation that planet Earth knows.
Curiously, the Saptarishis (the Seven Sages) change with every Yuga (aeon) in post-Vedic texts. The names of the current Saptarishis are Kashyapa, Atri, Vasistha, Vishwamitra, Gautama Maharishi, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja. (these won’t change for a long time – Kalyug has about 426,000+ years to go)
We decided on the Blume Day theme “Connecting Dots, Discovering Constellations” in early Jan and the graphic was finalized. It was going through minor font tweaks as we reached the Republic Day weekend. As the Blume team was nailing this down for printing, the logo design emerged, with the Big Bear in the middle of it, showing off its signature question mark form or wheel barrow shape.
That weekend, I accompanied my daughter to the Karate Nationals where she represented Maharashtra.
Venue? Patanjali campus, Phase 2, on the outskirts of Haridwar.
Opening ceremony chief guest: Baba Ramdev.
Closing Ceremony chief guest: Acharya Balakrishna.
State of being and the experience: Bouncing between surreal & calmness.
The 3-day experience deserves a blog of its own. But I mustn’t stray further.
I was walking past the hostels on the Patanjali campus (this phase housed students who studied at the Patanjali Ayurveda program) where we were put up. I remarked to my 9 year-old that the hostel names seem to be those of sages. #2 was Kashyap, #3 was Vishwamitra. We stayed in #4, Bharadwaj and so on. I wasn’t surprised – it was the Divyayoga campus. When I came back and looked up the names of the Saptarishis, the names were a perfect match – there were 7 residential buildings on the campus, named after the rishis.
As many hours passed that Sariska evening, the Big Dipper began easing into the other end of the horizon. We, on the other hand, were another year closer to bringing shape to our own Constellation: Blumiers. We sang late into the midnight sky, until the only sounds between our resort and the tiger reserve were our drummer’s fingers, the crackle of the bonfire and the music of this new constellation.
This year’s Blume Day theme is also a tribute to our own, incubated Constellation Blu that has now spawned its own little tribe, grown to 3x the size of Blume, and is gaining momentum, towards exit velocity, and towards more independence with every passing year. They complete five years in April 2018 – and are one of our prouder achievements.