“Is that a yes? Maybe a way of politely saying no? Is she doubting? Why would she doubt? Have I said something wrong? Have I done something wrong? What does she mean with that continuous tilt of her head? She almost looked like a bobble head figurine.”
A million thoughts welled up in my head. I had so many questions to ask her but I could not ask them all. You could read the astonishment in my consternated eyes. At least, she did.
This was the first time, of countless, that I experienced the famous Indian headshake. It is true that it has given me more than one headache, but with time the mystery fades away, and becomes just like some background white noise. Once you discover the meaning of the Indian headshake, it is surprising how contagious this gesture becomes.
The headshake (in theory) is the equivalent of the Hindi word achha (अच्छा), which means A LOT of things (such as good, I understand, okay or really?) depending on the context. A gesture is worth a thousand words. Each headshake is different and means something different. When you live in India, you start to move your head in different ways when you talk, and this headshake becomes a part of you.
So the next time you see an Indian person bobbling their head from side to side, do not feel afraid or too awkward to ask them what they mean!
Watch the following video to know more about the different hidden meanings of the Indian headshake.