The indians have a particular physical expression which involves tilting the head to the left and right in a rhythmic not-too-fast, not-too-slow fashion. I’m not entirely sure what it means but I like it and have adopted it if only to annoy SG.
From what I’ve seen, the head wag can mean “yes”, “no”, “maybe” or “i dont understand what you just said”. All one needs to do is smile and maintain silence and for some reason, it seems to be a pretty acceptable response from the local Indian point of view. Or at least, that is my working hypothesis. I’ve experimented a little and it seems to work in the following scenarios.
“Kashmiri shawls, cheap shawls, looking only ok.”
“Five rupee, give me five rupee.”
“What country are you from?”
“Where you want to go? I take you!”
“I show you cheap room!”
Alternatively, and it has only just occurred to me while writing this, it could be that when I do the headwag, it is so contextually incorrect that they simply assume that I dont understand english. Most people here assume I am Japanese anyway.
In any case, it works pretty well with everyone but SG.