Utpal was born in Surat, Gujarat and grew up in Pondicherry, India. Here he obtained a Higher Course Certificate (B.A.) from the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education in 2005, majoring in English literature and Philosophy. During his college years he also developed a fascination for reptiles while rescuing and relocating snakes around his town and decided to ditch the arts for biology. In 2008, he obtained a M. Sc. In Ecology and Environmental Sciences from Pondicherry University and his thesis investigated behaviour and microhabitat selection in the endemic Cane turtles of the Western Ghats. Since then Utpal has published herpetological reports related to natural history and geography, popular articles, and field guides for South India. His academic interests include the ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation of tropical herpetofauna. When he is not pretending to be an academic, Utpal enjoys photography, writting and composing music with his workstation. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in the Smith Lab studying the systematics and biogeography of SE Asian amphibians and reptiles.