This one is going to be short!
And as I have no photos on the theme, I’ll show you some of the bunches of flowers that the children at the boarding school gave me for no reason at all. They have nothing to do with the subject, but they are pretty nice!
I’ve already mentioned this Austrian girl, who had been there for a while and who took me to buy my first clothes. Well, she made something strange with her head. She, like every Indian, wobbled her head when she wanted to say YES. I thought she did it just to seem more Indian, but the fact is that after some weeks I, myself, was also doing it. It is as contagious as a yawn!
So if you want to seem Indian, just embrace the head bob sideways nod. That is more Indian that saying “Namaste”. It’s quite a strange movement. For us (not Indians) it seems a NO, but not an outright one. Well, it’s better if you have a look at this link:
So now you’ll understand my confusion at the beginning. When I asked the children if they had done their homework and they wiggled their heads and I got mad at them because I understood that they hadn’t. I asked them why and they just shook their heads again. And that went on and on until they were forced to say “Yes, sister, we’ve done it!” seeing that I was about to punish them!
I could tell you dozens of anecdotes like this one. It was ever so funny! Sometimes I’ve even left shops because I thought they didn’t have something. For instance, once at a chemist’s I asked, ‘Have you got iron tablets?’ The assistant waggled her head and I just went out of the shop. But what must this shop assistant have thought of me? ‘What’s wrong with this “whitey”? I tell her we have the tablets and she goes!’ Or when I asked, ‘Is this food very spicy?’ and I interpreted it wasn’t and then my throat burnt like hell!
When my mother and my godmother came to visit me I’d been in India for 5 months, so my head shake was as natural as an Indian’s. I didn’t learn the language, but I have to say I had a PERFECT head wobble. So, my mother begged me to get rid of it before I went back to Spain. Otherwise people would think I had a sort of tic!
Apart from that gesture Indians do other kinds of signals. Watch this video:
For example, when they don’t know something, they just twist their hands as if they were turning two bulbs sideways; the right hand clockwise and the left hand anticlockwise (in the video it’s the Edward Scissorhands one). Eight months later I keep on doing it!
Or when they want to ask why, (or sometimes also who, where,…) they just make a fist unfolding the thumb and agitate their hand upwards and downwards (that is not in the video).
The one I found creepier is The Finger Crunch of Doom gesture (as it is called in the video). A friend, Marthamma, used to do it all the time. Up to now I don’t know what she meant! But nothing bad, I expect coming from her!