Let's talk about some harmless Indian habits now!
The famous head wobble, the mastery in negotiating prices and hundreds of 'uncles and aunties' each of us know, these are some of the 'just Indian things'. Most likely your habits go unnoticed at your home country but while travelling abroad, here are a few pointers you must keep in mind to not offend someone ready to be offended.
1. The bargain masters need to take a break.
You might be a master in the art of bargaining and getting things done your way. But some years back when the story surfaced about an Indian guy trying to bargain with a sex worker in New York, the whole internet was sent to confusion.
2. Tip! Or Overtip! But don't be a lousy tipper.
Tipping makes even more sense since the government taxes waiters assuming they make 8% of the bill in tips. You might be downright frugal or you're unaware of this cultural norm but tipping in the US is more like a Mandatory Service Fee which is usually 15% or more.
3. We don't smile at strangers, do we?
It's funny how easily we Indians make vendors, neighbors and strangers 'Uncles and Aunties' but when it comes to dealing with strangers with a smile, we keep our guard up. How about smiling at that someone you meet at the lift everyday or the stranger you see everyday on the jogging track.
4. The harmless sign that might land you in trouble!
The popular V sign is clearly the pose of the generation all over the world. However, there's just a little trivia that might interest you. In Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, if you're cheering for a band with the index and middle finger parted and your palm facing outwards, believe it or not it's an insult to the singer.
5. Maybe the OK sign is not really OK!
For the Americans, the OK sign means 'Shove it up your ass'. Need I say more?
6. Stereotypes say, 'We can't say NO'.
While we still contemplate how perfect the generalization is, the easiest way out is to switch on your binary mode and answer in clear yes or no. Some blame the relationship-oriented Asian culture that makes Indians respond to difficult situations a certain way but unclear responses might be understood as misleading.
7. The Indian Stare
Living in crowded spaces often make us oblivious to other people's sense of space. Various travel bloggers have often shared a common experience of the famous Indian stare which might be owing to simple curiosity but holding the wrong person's gaze for too long might land you in trouble in any western country.
8. It's time to get over the achievement of inventing Zero.
We might have come up with some smart inventions to get the civilization started but yapping at length about Ayurveda, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry and Calculus is just DULL. Even if you want to talk about it, make sure your listeners are interested.
Hit the comments section below to share your own views and your Indian experiences abroad.
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