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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Is it just me who is obsessed with the idea of hand-me-downs? Can’t be. There have to be more people absolutely in love with the idea of the older, more used, more lived in items, and how they are the most meaningful things to exist. 

Like, yes, please.

Please give me that ragged, dusty, extremely out-of-fashion cardigan. It is one that my grandmother’s sister knitted for her because of how cold their attic-turned-bedroom got at night. They would cuddle up in it and talk about their dolls, and how they must get them wedded to a suitable gudda soon. I’ve worn it once, and I can hear whispers of their conversations in it.

Let me absorb the scent of decades ago. Let me feel closest to its origin. 

Give me the ring my mother’s great grandmother was gifted by her husband who fell in love with her at the first sight. Let me be part of that rare promise which was kept till the very end. Let me hold onto the hope that if I savor this symbol of rare love, somehow live it vicariously, I might just stumble upon it by chance myself. 

Give me my older brother’s worn out, torn shoes which made him so happy every time he brushed them against the brick wall faster than all his best friends. I want to wear that speed, all the endorphins and that feeling of being young, alive and happy. I want to hold his childhood close to mine. 

Give me that soft toy which my grandmother sewed with a few pieces of cotton for herself when she was alone at home and her brothers were away playing langdi. I want to feel the joy of her mute companionship too. Let me be reminded of love stored in soft toys of days past oozing out so much affection when you need it most on lonely nights. 

Give me the pen my father signed his first cheque with. I want to touch his face which must have grinned in pride of fulfilling his first, juvenile dream of success. 

Give me that red lace top my mom wore on her honeymoon. I want to feel as beautiful as she looked when she saw her brightness shine back through the reflection of her hotel mirror. I want to blush like a new bride too. I want to retain the scent of her adolescence, keep it with me forever. 

Give all the used things which mean something or once upon a time meant something, to me. 

Isn’t that what life is about anyway? Collecting tangible bits and pieces of love that was, love that is and love that will be- to complete our incomplete story. 

I don’t want new things with clean slates and no story behind them. 

I want meaning, I want belonging. I want a story. 

I want a morsel of nostalgia which I can pass on- a tale which puts a smile on a new face. 

I would without hesitation throw away the new collection of branded accessories which you would give me for a million dollars in a heartbeat, but that little keychain worth almost nothing to even the chor bazaar, that handkerchief on which you first practiced sewing a heart and failed terribly, that age old Windows laptop which takes decades to load – I would keep them all. In my locket, safe and close to my heart- only hoping for the stories they all hold inside to keep my beating heart as alive as the giggling whispers and love in them. 

I want to collect these puzzle pieces from people.

Puzzle pieces which are a part of something so beautiful and ordinary, so real and raw.

Puzzle pieces so utterly useless to you maybe, but a choir of voices reminding me of full-circle love and joy. 

Puzzle pieces which make no sense together, yet all of it.

Puzzle pieces which once made someone whole, puzzle pieces which now make my incompleteness complete.

I just want to be surrounded by worn out love that never wears out.

Stuti Sharma

Ashoka '24

Stuti is a third year Psychology major and Creative Writing minor at Ashoka University. She loves writing and can be found impulse-buying jhumkas, unnecessary outfits and fridge magnets, and consuming the most absurd media ever. She is the token mom of the group surrounded by walking reminders of how short she is. She already loves you.