One could say it was serendipity that when Hilary Smith was looking for an internship in France, she found the posting for the Auroville Earth Institute (which is run by a French architect). a�?I applied and was accepted. What brought me back to live here permanently was the unique environment that challenged and encouraged me. I loved the people, colours and climate,though the monsoon is a bit intense for me,a�? gushes Smith, 27. She came to Pondicherry last year and has been working as the librarian at the Auroville Earth Institute, a small research institute that specialises in buildings. She also manages a small office library, their digital collection, and some of their publications. To balance out this very desk-bound work, Smith often involves herself with horses at the Red Earth Riding School.
From Santa Cruz, on the central coast of California, Smith first learnt riding from her mother. a�?Mom first taught me to ride when I was about ten with one of our frienda��s a�?backyard horsesa��. I then took about four years of lessons, in dressage. I didna��t ride for eight years, until I came to Auroville and knew that the time had come for me to take up riding again,a�? she says. She explains that over the years, she has learnt different approaches to riding and is a�?a�?currently trying to find the synthesis to it alla��a�� to find her own style.Something that she enjoys now is teaching riding to beginners. a�?I enjoy trying to find the key to explaining different concepts of riding, through reframing, metaphor, imagery,a�? explains Smith, who has a Bachelors degree in Near Eastern Studies.
Learning to unwind
Besides horse riding, Smith likes working in her garden, which is an unending endeavor of weeding, pruning and building bunds. a�?During lunch hour and in the evenings, I like to read, which can vary from sci-fi (particularly cyberpunk), to post-revolution Algerian literature (from the DA�cennie Noire, the Civil War period), to 19th century English Literature. Sometimes, I just head out on my bike, a little 150cc Fiero, which I adore, to absorb the vibrance of daily life in Pondicherry,a�? she concludes.