Indian Journey Part VI: The Indian Head Wobble

June 29, 2010 in India, Travel by pacejmiller

Before I visited India I had always thought the Indian head wobble was a myth.  A humorous stereotype.  But it’s so NOT!

I was shocked to find that just about every second person in India performed the head wobble at any given opportunity.  Hotel receptionists.  Taxi drivers.  Auto rickshaw drivers.  Shop assistants.  People attending the wedding.  They do it when giving thanks or receiving thanks.  They do it when talking or silent.  They do it in response to another wobble.  But what does it mean?  It’s not really a nod, nor is it a shake.  All I know is that it is insanely infectious and I have been doing it non-stop (much to the annoyance of everyone around me).

Thanks to the Internets, I found this article explaining what the Indian head wobble is.  In short, it is a multi-purpose body gesture usable for anything from “yes,” “good”, to “I understand”, but it may mean different things in different regions and the length of the wobble is also relevant.  What a complex art!

And now, for no reason other than there being an Indian head wobble in it (at around the 0:23-0:30 mark), here is a video of Seinfeld product placements.