Italian marines learn Malayalam in prison


They are gradually changing from initially recalcitrant convicts and are now showing interest in the habits and language of the land they are lodged in.

The two Italian marines incarcerated in Poojappura Central Prison for killing two fishermen off the Neendakara coast, are picking up bits of Malayalam and are adjusting to Kerala culture.

The two marines, Lattore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone of the San Marco Regiment, who are under judicial custody, are now getting to know their fellow inmates and exchanging pleasantries with them.

The marines now make it a point to greet their neighbour IG Lakshmana every morning. Later, the two Italians, who are not fluent in English, started greeting him in Malayalam.

Noted lawyer Sangeetha Lakshmana, daughter of former IG Lakshmana says, “I see those Italians when I go to meet my acha. My acha tells me that every time they see him now they say, Namasthae... with their hands folded.”

She adds that now they are even getting Malayalam savvy, extending their Namasthae Thiruvananth-apuram style with ‘saaar’.

Sangeetha Lakshmana added that she too is friendly with the marines.

The jail authorities did mention that some of the inmates taught the Malayalam words to the marines. According to ADGP Prisons Alexander Jacob, the marines learnt several English words and Indian words like ‘kattil’, ‘curry’, ‘chappathi’ and ‘bed’.

He did mention that they have a strong aversion to Indian spicy dishes, especially chicken curry. “They sprinkle some water on the jail chappathis and after some time roll them and eat them.” He said the Italians used to say that the curry burns their intestines.

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