A traveller is not scared of the unknown. He/She rushes forth to cross the unknown river and is not afraid of the change to be faced on the opposite coast.  But a traveller is never careless and always tries to equip himself/herself to deal with such changes. A huge world like ours which accommodates several differences demands a long list of such preparations from a global traveller.

A big chunk of this preparation part is to acquaint oneself with the prevalent gestures of the destination. You don’t want to inadvertently offend your host in a foreign country. So here are a few gestures an Indian should acquaint oneself with before sailing abroad :

1. Don’t give a t humbs up to show your approval when in Italy, Iraq, Iran, Greece, Russia, Sardinia or West Africa. It is akin to “up your ass”

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2. Never cross your fingers to wish for good luck in Vietnam. You’d be insulting someone by showing the symbol for female genitals.

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3. Do not try to act cool and make the the corna (the Karna Mudra of Buddha and a rock symbol) in the Mediterranean countries. This gesture equals calling a man a bastard.

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4. The V sign that Indians make to denote victory or peace in India when used in Australia and England means ‘up your ass’.


5. Indians should never use the gesture of extending their palm out to stop someone in Greece or Africa. In Greece it is akin to telling people to go to hell, w hile in Africa, it is a slang to say that they have five fathers .


6. Never try to ask the way to the loo by holding up your pinky in UK. You will be telling the man that he has a little penis.

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7. Using the ‘ok’ symbol in Russia, Brazil, Turkey and the Mediterranean is a slang. By showing the symbol you would be calling someone homosexual. On the other hand, in France and Belgium it means calling someone a cipher.

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8. Putting your elbow on the table while dining in Mexico can cause serious hurt to your host because you’d be calling them stingy.

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9. Most of all, never ever try to beckon at someone in the  Philippines. It is reserved for dogs and if you use this gesture, you can land in prison.

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On the other hand there are some gestures that are insulting according to the Indian dictionary but which are good meaning gestures in foreign land.

10. Sticking your tongue out – Insult in India, respect in Tibet


11. Spitting – Insult in India, blessing in Kenya


12. Shaka – Lapetana in India, sign of compassion and friendship in Hawaii


13. The fig sign- Female genitalia in India, wishes of good fortune in Brazil


Any more you can think of which could help your travel brethren in foreign waters?