The picture wasn’t extraordinary in any way. In fact, it looked like any other picture on social media. Ida Wilde was posing for the camera, smiling as she held a bunch of flowers at a family member’s wedding.
The 83-year-old posted the photo on Facebook, and she received a message that changed her life.
The message to Ida was simply: “Are you Ida Moreland?” This query was surprising, but not just because its sender is worth hundreds of millions of dollars!
The man who asked Ida to verify her identity was, in fact, Asgar Patel. He is the founder and non-executive chairman of House of Patels, a logistics firm. But why had he messaged Ida?
Asgar Patel made the Forbes list of the top 100 Indian business owners in Arabian countries in 2017. He placed at number 45. Furthermore, the entrepreneur’s fortune was valued at a cool $615 million in 2013 — and has grown exponentially since then.
So, what could he possibly want from an 83-year-old woman from Irvine, Scotland?
Asgar is now living in Dubai but is originally from India. The 78-year-old mogul may have inherited some of his business sense from his father, who had owned multiple companies in Karachi and Mumbai.
However, when Asgar was just six years old, he experienced something that shattered his world and put his family in grave danger.
On August 15, 1947, British rule in India came to an end. This meant that the country that was formerly known as British India was split in two. This created what we now know as India and Pakistan.
While many Muslims subsequently relocated to Pakistan, most of the Hindu population chose to stay in India. This mass migration resulted in unrest, and around one million people perished in the riots that followed. Asgar’s father was forced to do the unthinkable to ensure his family’s safety.
Asgar’s father was concerned for his family’s welfare, particularly for his four children: Asgar, Ramzan, Atabr, and Kulsom.
Forced to make a decision, he knew that the best thing he could do for them was to try to move them out of the country and out of harm’s way and hope that the turbulence passed. But what does this all have to do with Ida?
Well, Asgar’s father had some friends who had once stayed at a certain guesthouse in the West End of Glasgow, Scotland.
The guesthouse was situated on Willowbank Street, and would often host international students who found its proximity to the University of Glasgow convenient. Asgar’s father’s friends reached out to the guesthouse to find out if they would take the four children in.
Unfortunately, the guesthouse owner refused. She was getting on in years and the responsibility of taking care of four children who weren’t hers would be too much.
However, when she opened the front door soon after her refusal, standing there were Asgar’s children. He was so determined that no harm should come to them that he’d sent them there anyway!
Confronted with the children who had nowhere else to go, the landlady decided to compromise. She agreed to look after the two oldest siblings, Ramzan and Atabr, and her niece was enlisted to take care of the other two, Kulsom and Asgar.
And Greta Moreland had agreed to help her aunt because the 12-year-old girl was almost the same age as her own daughter, Ida.
Ida Moreland, Greta’s daughter, married years later and became Ida Wilde. But how dire had the situation been back in India that Asgar’s father had sent his children across the world to keep them safe?
“When they came at first, we thought, ‘How can any mum and dad send four kids like this to Scotland?’ But you could see it a bit more when you saw all the horrible things that were happening in India and Pakistan,” Ida recalled in an interview back in 2017.
In time, Asgar’s two youngest became a part of the Moreland family. Asgar even called Ida’s parents “mum” and “dad,” Ida revealed to the Daily Record.
“That was quite embarrassing lots of times. My mum said to him, ‘Look, Asgar, you’ve got your own mum and she won’t be pleased, so you better call us aunt and uncle.’”
Asgar lived with the family for five years and had a happy childhood. He loved vacationing with them and playing with the family dog, Sparkie.
“Kulsom got homesick and wanted to go home, but Asgar would have lived here forever. He quickly became part of the family,” Ida explained. Asgar assimilated so completely that he even forgot his native tongue!
“When his mum came over to visit, he had forgotten how to speak Urdu and she couldn’t speak English, so they just waved at each other,” Ida recalled.
And when it was finally time for Asgar to go back home, he didn’t want to leave. “He wanted to stay with us. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we knew he had to leave to be with his own family,” Ida said. Naturally, the Moreland’s were sad to see him go. At first, they stayed in touch, but they fell out of contact after a few years.
“Soon the cards stopped, but I often wondered where he ended up,” Ida said. But she had no idea that her little brother had spent years trying to find her again.
60 years later, he happened to come across her photo on Facebook and recognized her face! He sent her a message, but would Ida recognize him now?
“I couldn’t believe he’d seen that one photograph. It was a miracle really,” Ida exclaimed. After all the years lost between them, they had finally reconnected again. And their relationship began right where they had left off.
“It wasn’t strange or awkward, and we chatted away like two old pals,” she explained. They finally saw each other in person again in 2017, when Asgar traveled to Scotland to visit Ida.