The head bobble, head wobble, or Indian head shake refers to a common gesture found in South Asian cultures, most notably in India. This form of nonverbal communication is sometimes referred to as “Indian head shake” or as travel journalist Stephan Wilkinson has described it, “a vague cock of the head.” The motion usually consists of a side-to-side tilting of the head in arcs along the coronal plane. It is often performed by the listener in agreement with what is being said by the speaker, such that the speaker perceives there is ‘no problem’ with the message currently being conveyed, without interruption.
In Bulgaria, this is the equivalent of a nod meaning yes, whereas a quick nod up means no.
In the novel Shantaram, the character discusses becoming familiar with the “head wiggle” as a visitor to Bombay.
(Editor’s note: I love linguistics. I still have a lot of studying to do when it comes to gestures and non-verbal communication, but having worked at an internet startup, I can head bobble with the best of them.)