Emergency help please

March 12, 2012

How are you? I hope this e-mail reaches you well. I just want you to know that I had an urgent business seminar trip to Spain but I got myself in a fix. I was mugged & robbed on my way to the hotel. Kindly observe utmost confidentiality with this. I really want this confidential between us.

Though I lost my money, bank cards & mobile phone in the course of this attack, but I’m so glad I wasn’t harm or hurt. Anyway, I’ve immediately contacted my bank for help and to stop my cards. Will you be able to lend me some cash (about €2500euros) or any amount you can afford to lend me. I’ll refund you back upon my arrival back home next weekend. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to your response. Thank you kindly



Repressing mendacity

July 2, 2011

Here are photos from Providence Row, that I took last week when I was researching:


A few things begin to strike me about the details of this place. The effect of splitting / doubling, (separate entrances for men and women); on the backside of the building the separation between the facade and the external wall (so that the new is inserted beneath the old, in an odd inversion of what we normally expect); and (apart from a couple of small plants), the lack of anything personalised viewable from the window -instead stacks of different kinds of bags.

Out Of Office – Reply

June 17, 2011

Hi Nida it’s Steve Thanks for your latest – I love your photographs.. you’ve gone undercover!!
I was thinking re the stencil idea that
a) as you say does it matter that there’s a language barrier
b) if so, perhaps the stencil could be like a ‘I heart NY’ t-shirt (ie just the I, a heart, and a U… might his help cross the linguistic barrier??
I shall head back to Vallance Gardens tomorrow and the I Love U tree and see what knew may arise
Enjoy your weekend
Best wishes from a grey and damp London

please leave your message after the beep…


Hello Hello

Q: Would they be solely religious or could they have been tied there for other reasons?

A: I believe they are solely religious in this context. but we can manipulate it into our own story…

the “exchange”  idea sounds intriguing. i like the stencil idea… keeping in mind a: the language barrier and b: questioning who we are talking to? as in who is the audience for the public intervention… do we want to get the point across? or should we even worry about it? i think this idea can be cooked more ( i’m thinking… im thinking)…

i discovered two  new facts/fiction about this Shrine! well the first one is definitly a fact… the tree is sticking out of a mosque right behind the shrine. its one building with single entrance but a different room. secondly it is said that Gujja Peer has healing powers. so people come here for Shifa- healing i saw a huge container filled with salt and i was told that the salt is taken for the very same purpose. so here is another string to hold on to may be?

lets think about it and call back…

i managed to take some pictures inside the shrine.. i sneaked in when the care taker was not around…

have a look!

"Charhawa" on the grave of Gujja.   



Hi Nida

Thanks once again for getting this exchange up and posted on the blog. The last section about the Taweez being tied in the tree is very interesting. Would they be solely religious or could they have been tied there for other reasons?

As I said I’m thinking of collecting the names of those who people would like to tell that they love them. Perhaps I could send those names to the shrine tree in Lahore and they could be tied to the tree as a symbol of the lengths we will go to for the ones that we love? And perhaps you could send something in exchange, to be tied to the tree here in London?? Although now looking at a picture of the I Love U tree (inserted below) all the branches are pretty high so that may be rather difficult (as my tree climbing days are not at their best!!…) but perhaps we could find a way of tying some Taweez to it in a cultural exchange. And whilst I am still considering the balloon idea that we’ve discussed previously, I am not sure how it could/should manifest itself (ie for what precise purpose, or whether, like love, it may be doomed to uncertainty and potential failure..) Maybe we could release balloons/a single balloon at both locations simultaneously…? Or perhaps I could send something through the mail to the tree… Maybe I send you a replica stencil of ‘I LOVE U’ and you could stencil your tree with ‘I LOVE U I LOVE U I LOVE U’??

I really think we should push this on and find a way of exchanging something that we’re both happy with… Let me know your thoughts

And, as always, best wishes


hay all

just to keep you all updated…

Steve and I have something to share

hi nida

its Steve here from the London slice – how are you??

I’m just wondering if you could: 

a) briefly re-tell me the history of the shrine 


b) if we could find a way of creating an address for the shrine (even though I think you said that it currently does not have an official form of address) so that I can maybe send something/s there… ideally I’m thinking that I don’t want to send anything ‘care of’ but rather directly to the location…

however I’m still not exactly certain how my work might manifest itself (the balloons idea I talked about via Skype is currently just one of many) so hope that any information you can provide about the shrine (beyond there being 2 trees growing through the structure) might potentially expose a way forward for me… I’m happy for whatever is eventually sent to fail to arrive but would like to give it at least the best possible chance of arriving

trusting that this finds you well

best wishes from a grey and damp London


hi Steve

I’m fine thanks 🙂

well… I asked the gadde nasheen (a saint who practically lives at the shrine) about the history of that place, I asked who was Gujja Peer and who made this place? he said nobody knows anything about Gujja. he told me an interesting story. I don’t know how authentic it is but here it is: while goorai -white skinned- were making the railway ,which is now right behind this place, they failed thrice as the land was not accepting it. so, it was decided that a holy spirit or some saint  lives here.. so this place was constructed… this other person told me that a lady from London called Shama spent a lot of money and constructed this place.. I’m assuming before the London lady got this place constructed dr must be a humble set up here..

I can try and find out the address. but you have to wait for a few days. Ooo and also, only one tree is growing through the structure. please find att. the  image of the tree..

I am thinking of giving niaz  (donation in any form food drinks clothes etc)in that place. you see I was given Niaz when I went there…  I am thinking of giving out food in rapped in letters… I’m still thinking about the letters and its details though.. may be a prayer list.. I don’t know… but I really want a strong connection with the tree… hmmm… thinking…

lets copy paste his conversation on word press if you don’t mind.. let’s make it part of the process..

feel free to ask more questions.. 🙂



hi nida

thanks for your swift response

posting these exchanges on the blog is fine with me… I think it should show all our working processes, thoughts, and ideas as they grow and form…

hmmmmnn just one tree not two that’s even more intriguing. one tree here to another tree there, across the continents …it gets more intriguing by the minute. 

perhaps we could construct a cross-continental conversation between the two trees (my ‘i love u’ tree and your shrine tree – or send gifts or offerings from one to the other??) I’m happy to wait for the address if it can be located. thank you.

I really like the notion that the tree has survived where building efforts have not, and that the only way to stop the constant falling-downs was to erect the shrine to ease the spirit believed to be causing them. so much superstition…

I’m thinking of spending some extended time in the park and asking people who pass there if they know anything about the person who left the ‘I love u’ messages, and maybe who they would tell that they love them, and then perhaps send those names somewhere (maybe by balloon or by letter or even some other format) or do something with them…. I’m not certain yet and its all still rather vague… 

I like your idea of offering something to passersby – do you think we could perhaps exchange something (it could be names, or prayers, or something more tangible) and then distribute those to people in each-others cities?? the possibilities are endless…

looking forward to your next reply

best wishes


good am Steve!

I got the address… though I’m not entirely sure if the things you send will get to this place or not.. but the care taker gave me this address..

darbaar Gujja peer

Dou moria pull,



I asked for more details but the guy said that is all you need.. this is the address… this didn’t come to me as a surprise.. all my questions are answered like this in and around the shrine… nobody knows the authentic history of this place… it always His-Story.. it’s always begins with our forefathers told us that…. and it seems every father had a different story to tell, which is interesting because I thing my work is evolving in the same manner. I’m now thinking of making a photo essay and text , perhaps supported by sound… yes I know it sounds a lot different than my previous donation idea.. 🙂 perhaps I should stop going to the shrine now!

I love the idea of an exchanging “something”.. will share an image on the blog today.. and copy paste chunks of our conversation.. you would love that image and I’m sure it will give you some ideas and maybe we can build up on it!

Kind Reg



okay.. yes yes Steve i know i know… that was not chunks of our conversation.. it’s pretty much all of it! 😛

Here is the image i was talking about…

well.. these are some objects hung to the tree at my end…  im assuming they are Taweez (The defenition of a Ta’weez is simply ‘a written Du’a,’ which is from the Qur’an or Ahadith, and isfor the one who cannot read or has not memorized that particular Du’a. It is written on a piece ofpaper and is worn around the neck. retrieved from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2624285/TAWEEZ)  or pieces of cloth hung in shrines here as an act of mannat- phrasal translation would be “to wish upon a coin”- whatever they are im sure about the fact that the do have some kind of spiritual significance.  to my surprise, not many taweez are hanging on this tree… perhaps its not Holy enough for people? i asked so many visitors about this tree and it seems that people just miss it and they ask back … what? which tree?  ooo that tree? yes its a tree.. its very old… and its been here just like any other tree…

So yeah Steve here you go! “do you think we could perhaps exchange something (it could be names, or prayers, or something more tangible)”  here is a version of “tangible prayers” My tree has to offer.

lets talk here now!


Gujja peer and the tree

June 12, 2011

in my first visit to the point, i stood outside the shrine for some time. saw people stopping by in front of the black opening for the daily quick performance… the must do ritual… the little black opening had two “dea” (oil candles),  a metal door with a tiny slit for donation secured by a thick metal bar and two big metal locks. the name of the shrine ” Baba Gujja Peer”  was engraved on a white  marble piece above this opening. people on cycles, motorbikes, rickshaws or even on foot paused for a few min… prayed, donated and touched the oil of the “dea” for good luck and blessings.

this might look like a quite shot but the noise around it was an experience i could not miss!!!

this tree growing out of the concrete structure was the other fascinating part of the mysterious shrine.

a lot is cooking in my mind. the black prayer hole, the tree, the railway line right behind the shrine, the noise around this place and much much more…

Through the Skype session with our cross-continental counterparts a viable connection has begun to emerge between my chosen site – the I LOVE U, I LOVE U, I LOVE U tree here in London at Vallance Gardens (a shrine to love if ever there was one) and the shrine to the ‘hidden holy person’ (with two trees growing out of it) that Nida is working with in Lahore, and  it made me think of the poem The Garden of Love by William Blake (which I’ll insert below), and was probably written to express his beliefs on the naturalness of sexuality, and how religions  of his time (specifically the Orthodox Christian Church) with their preaching and rules (not much changes really), caused the repression of natural desires. A really brave statement to make for his time (and one which still carries resonance) to challenge the foundations of such a powerful institution, making specific attacks on the Anglican church with the mention of ‘chapel’ and ‘priests’. Blake’s indignation at his subject matter is clear, when he talks about seeing ‘what I had never seen’. It is interesting that he says he has ‘never’ seen it when he must have grown up being aware of the Church’s attitude to sexuality. It might then be inferred that he’s speaking from the view point of innocence, ie – one who has just entered the world of sexual experience and is in a state of shock and sadness at how his previous freedoms have been blocked and squashed…

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys & desires.


(Update) I’ve also contacted the recently created City Arts Initiative at The Corporation of London regarding the car-park site at Whites Row (where the slice line runs diagonally through the entire length of the structure) to see if it might be possible, with their support and assistance, to collaboratively create a tiny, temporary, high-rise green oasis or park (a ‘car-PARK’) intervention, on the top-floor open-air level, in a bay (or bays) – with grass turf, a bench, maybe a deck-chair or two, and some potted trees etc with the city skyline as its backdrop…. I will wait to see if they a) like the proposal and b) can help me orchestrate the intervention…