"Interpret the Indian Headshake!" Top 5 Page for this destination Dubai Warnings Or Dangers Tip by Escadora7
Dubai Warnings and Dangers: 53 reviews and 63 photos
This seems more of an India/Sri Lanka/Pakistan-specific tip, but since a large population of Dubai is from these countries, it seems appropriate here. What confuses most Westerners is what we call the "Indian headshake". VERY confusing!
Let's take a case: you see something in a store and you ask the Indian/Sri Lankan/Pakistani storekeeper a question about the item. Here is where the headshake comes in. If the answer is no, then it is very clear - it's the uniform head turning from left to right and back. However, if the reply is positive the events usually play out as follows:
Westerner: asks question
Indian: shakes head by tilting it back and forth to each side. (sort of moves left ear towards left shoulder and then right ear towards right shoulder) and mumbles "mmmmm"
Westerner: looks baffled, trying to interpret if this is a yes or no
Westerner: looks embarrassed and asks "Is this a yes or a no?"
Indian: does the head-shake again and mumbles "mmmm"
then the event might go 2 ways:
Westerner interprets it as yes and goes about his/her business
Westerner interprets it as no, expresses some "aaah - mhm" and hastily retreats
So, to summarize:
NO - regular turning of head to left and right
YES - tilting of head towards shoulders left and right
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