Airline Cabins as Migration Melting Pots.

There are certain cultures of aero mobilities at 36k feet which we observe while I travel. I am a migration ethnographer, and the site of the body is an instrument to gauge phenomena. On a recent visit to Johannesburg from Mumbai via Addis, the traditional Indian Ocean pathways of migration from Kathiawar to Natal were mapped, as a bunch of vernacular skilled forced bachelor migrants from Jamnagar were enthusiastically exchanging khakra in the cabin and chatting loudly which sharing space with Khoja Ismaili South African Citizens chatting away in Gujarati visiting Mumbai.

I spotted a Jamaat Khana in a gas station above a restaurant next to a China Mart in Johannesburg. On the way back I found a group of young Sikh restaurant workers on the flight back to the Addis leg, taking the connecting flight to Delhi. There were so many working-class Indian men and traders working in the capitals and towns of East and Southern Africa, which are totally hidden from the scholarly gaze.

The airline cabin is a cultural space of migration corridors and is a melting pot of globalization. I sometimes wish the migrants know how to navigate these spaces respectfully.

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